When I started leading a team, I got bogged down pretty quickly in it and ran back to coding. I liked the title and the money, but I spent my days hiding in my office coding “important” new features. Nothing was getting done fast enough, and work was piling up, so it made sense that I should quit messing around with “managing” and just get back to business.
I was postponing my 1:1 meetings, and putting in lots of long days and late nights. I hoped that my team, largely ignored, would turn into a “self-managing team” so I could just get something done.
You can probably guess the ending. It didn’t work, the team felt ignored, my attempts to lend a hand resulted in the entire team wasting time on the wrong thing, and my boss was upset. Then my boss and I had to have a conversation that resulted in “re-aligning my priorities.” Ya, it sucked bad.
So, my transition to management was bumpy, to say the least.
Now, you’re on my list because you want to be a good boss. You’re ready to take this work seriously, but maybe you’re also feeling stuck in the transition.
You might be stuck for the same reasons I was, such as…
1. At times it requires balancing two important jobs, programming, and managing.
2. It’s a very different kind of work, which we’ve not prepared for.
3. It looks easy from the outside but is very difficult to do well.
4. It’s hard to ask for help, even though we’re novices.
5. We’re learning to do it “in public,” in front of our team and boss.
6. We’ve left behind something we love, programming.
7. It changes our identity, from programmer to manager.
8. We’re afraid of becoming something we hate, a “clueless boss.”
9. Management doesn’t feel productive. At the end of the day, it’s tough to see what was accomplished.
10. We might not have had a “good boss” as a role model, so we have to make it up as we go.
If this sound familiar, my Grow Happy Developers workshop can help. It’s YOU who’ll end up happier in the end, so maybe I should call it “Be a Happy Tech Lead”! 🙂
You’ll get a structure for your leadership work; you’ll learn how to start connecting with your team, and how to do the hard work of giving critical feedback to your team.