July 05, 2015
It’s a lot easier to lead technical people when you are one yourself, and are the kind of person that likes to think about the things that you need to do your job to the highest possible level.
You need to understand the types of challenges they face, the frustrations they feel when poor decisions are taken (especially if they don’t know why those decisions were made), and let them have their say. Give them great tools, ideally let them choose their own.
Place a focus on technical development, lead the way and ensure you help them improve their skills. Set up a learning plan with them (we do ours on Trello), using your experience to help them plot in learning around missing skills, or skills that will help them take their career to the next level. This will also help you retain their respect, even when their skills surpass your own (and if this happens, you’ve done a great job!)
Ensure you consult them on key decisions, especially those that affect their work day, but be strong enough and able to explain your view if it doesn’t match theirs.
I’m sure most of that applies to non-techies too. It’s simple really, give your team the best environment you can, support them and encourage them to improve and keep learning. They’ll drive your team and company forwards.
Written by Steve Kennaird, UK-based developer and Technical Director interested in .Net and NodeJS backends and all sorts of frontends.
You can follow me on Twitter if you like!