Great developers aren’t automatically great managers
In today’s climate, it has never been harder to attract and retain technological talent. Almost 75% of digital workers they have their eyes set on new positions, with the advancement of their career the main engine for 63% of those who plan to move forward.
These data make one thing clear: that those who are committed to supporting career advancement are more likely to retain highly valuable staff.
Many organizations take pride in their ability to develop talent internally, offering employees the opportunity to acquire new skills and move to different positions. But there are drawbacks to simply giving different responsibilities to the best talent: they stop doing the job they were good at and learn a whole new set of skills.
Take professional athletes, for example: few of the biggest stars in the world, in any sport, automatically become great coaches. Or journalism: What makes a great journalist not necessarily a great editor.
Great developer vs. great leader
Software development is no different. Successful software developers do not automatically become successful managers. In fact, often the same thing that made a high-performing actor successful in his last role could hinder his new position. This is because technical skill is not the main attribute of a successful manager.
Of course, a level of technical knowledge is vital when leading a team of technology specialists, but excelling in creating new products or correcting complex errors will not inspire the variety of personalities that make up a equipment. Everyone will have their own motivations, preferences, strengths and weaknesses, all this must be navigated and handled in the right way to achieve the best performance for both individuals and the collective team.
Successful executives understand the types of people in your organization. Each one is unique, but there will be certain characteristics, defined by their roles, that can help you understand the best way to direct them.
If we consider the programming disciplines: systems, user interface / experience and database programmers will take different approaches to problem solving. A manager can have a team of both permanent employees and contractors, each with their own concerns and approaches. In addition, there may well be both cowboys, who load at the last minute of a project to save the day, and farmers, who are constantly approaching the task in question. Both are tasked with making a product effectively and both will respond to different types of management.
To get to this point, managers must have built a team first, and when it comes to that, there are a number of common challenges that will sound real to anyone who has worked in technology. Specifically, recruitment, incorporation and exchange of knowledge.
The art of recruitment
Many executives make the mistake of assuming that recruiters, external or internal, can handle the whole process of recruiting new talent. However, in order to properly evaluate candidates, their leaders and future colleagues need to be very involved. A hiring function that should serve the entire company is unlikely to have deep knowledge or experience to review someone’s ability to code. While you can try the cultural fit, the intricacies of smaller teams will only be really understood by the people who work in this department.
Encouraging the opinion and ideas of existing team members can help develop an evaluation process that is fair, balanced, reproducible, and more likely to identify candidates who will quickly adjust to other employees.
Prioritize developer incorporation
Once a candidate has been hired, it must be incorporated. While this is a term, it is actually two processes. First, there is the human resources part, employee guidance can include all the paperwork, processes, and compliance lists needed to turn a candidate into a legal part of the business. Second, and most important from a productivity and engagement perspective, is functional incorporation. This focuses on updating new recruits as quickly as possible and comes down to having a welcoming culture and immediate access to the right equipment and services.
Despite this, organizations continue to spend tens of thousands of dollars and many hours to attract and recruit new employees, but a fraction of that by incorporating new hires. Employers can’t assume that signing a contract means they can get their foot in the door, that’s just the beginning of the journey. They must ensure that the incorporation process is smooth and reflects the business.
If they didn’t, they could see them losing new employees who spent so much resources acquiring in the first place. A study found that employees who had a negative experience of joining new hires are twice as likely to look for new opportunities soon, while 1 in 5 new hires are unlikely to recommend an employer to a friend or family member after its incorporation.
Organizational drag is another concern that occurs when team growth slows production, as everything becomes exponentially more complex. While growing companies need to hire new staff to keep progressing, if they fail to get in, they may find that they are suffering from a drop in productivity.
The power of knowledge sharing
Communication and collaboration are vital elements in a happy and productive team, and it is as valuable to managers as it is to team members. Leaders need to listen, while creating an environment that prioritizes the exchange of knowledge. This is especially true in the increasingly remote world of work where many find themselves, and goes beyond sharing information within a team, but also extends to how teams communicate with other functions, departments, and business units.
Some executives may feel that they run the risk of over-communicating; in today’s environment, this is not possible, but it is important to remember that listening is as much a part of communication as it is speaking.
Everyone has a unique perspective or knowledge that is not available to others; leaders need to find ways to access this understanding and share it with relevant people across the organization. This is where teammates, their preferences, and the confidence they communicate come into play. Encouraging an introvert to make a company-wide presentation makes no sense. Instead, opt for small group or individual sessions.
Unlock the technology enable in 2022
The key to successful leadership today is unlocking technology skills, which is all about helping your workforce perform at a high scale. From technical incorporation to knowledge sharing, peer-to-peer and collaborative learning to mentoring, training and documentation.
It is a challenge for technical organizations right now; companies need to be able to leverage technology to succeed in today’s markets, and engineering teams are under pressure to contribute to that goal. In this environment, managers need to be very focused on supporting their employees to function effectively, which in turn focuses on these leaders and how they guide, develop and motivate their teams. From hiring and incorporating to individual guidance and how knowledge is spread throughout the organization, technical leaders are the driving seat to help software development teams sing.