Do you feel like your software development team has been dragging lately? Have you thought about onboarding a new team member or outsourcing something for which you don’t feel confident in your team? Maybe you’ve even considered firing someone?
Before taking on any of these extreme measures, consider reflecting on your leadership style. It may not even be that you are doing anything wrong, but maybe your current style isn’t a great fit for the culture of this particular team, project, or company.
Try going through our list of guidelines for our software development team leadership, and see if any can be applied to your team to improve functionality, morale, and product:
- Understand each member of your team individually: While you can group your team into sub-teams, which gives you some guidance in the skills and roles of the persons on that sub-team, remember that even these groups are made up of individual people. Knowing each personality, along with their strengths, weaknesses, and experiences will help you to properly coordinate and delegate so that your team members can perform at their optimal level.
- Invest time in teaching: A warning that you need to spend more time mentoring is when a team member asks you the same thing twice. We’re not talking about the same exact thing (rather, this might indicate a problem with the team member). We’re talking about when someone asks you something that they should understand through recent experiences. Explain your choices and calls to your team so that they can learn why you do what you do and next time - they won’t have to ask.
- Trust your team: Sometimes delegating can be more time consuming and stressful than just doing it yourself. In fact, this is quite common. But if you get in the mindset to trust your team and delegate important tasks, your team will notice it, and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.
- Think of yourself as a member of the team, like everyone else: Yes, you may be the project manager, and yes, everyone may report to you at the end of the day. But during the day, try and view yourself as just another team member - in charge of organizing and facilitating inner-team communication.
People appreciate autonomy and can tell when you value their option. If you feel like you are being forced to micromanage, try breaking the cycle and letting your team members make important decisions without coming to you for every little thing. Using team language can help both your mindset and the way others perceive you. For example, ‘we’ are a team. Your team members work ‘with’ you, not ‘for’ you.
Everyone should share responsibility for mistakes, as well as the reward for successes. This boost in confidence can result in more confident, productive developers, and can allow you to stick to your job, rather than doing theirs. Hint: make sure you do any ‘hands-off’ experimentation at the appropriate time, as not to leave your team alone in a situation where you are needed.
Related Content: How to Increase Productivity for Your Software Development Team
Being a good leader isn’t easy. In fact, it’s challenging. As a program leader, you need to trust your team, allowing them to (safely) make mistakes, learn from them, and teach them to trust themselves. And unfortunately, leadership is the essential part of any software development program – technical aspects can all be learned or outsourced. So, take a good look at your management style before attributing any flaws to individual team members and experiment with altering your style when and where you can.