You were promoted to team lead or even to Project manager, you came home and are incredibly happy about the new position. In the evening you are lying in bed, trying to sleep, but in your soul you are happy with the new perspectives that have opened. However, something else is bothering you. Now, among your colleagues in the workshop, you are the main one, since you are the best at understanding this or that area, helping others and participating in important decisions or for any other worthy reason you have been made the "main" one. At this moment, the most important professional transformation is taking place, before you is a new gigantic area that you have to master – management. How to behave? Tomorrow and every day after that? What awaits you?
1) Adopt practices and ask questions
The questions above can be asked to Tarot cards or a book on psychology … But you are not the first and not the last to assume the position of manager. And above you, most likely there is another manager who chose you for a reason. First of all – ask for advice from those who have long held managerial positions, and also find out for what qualities, in addition to technical professionalism, you have been put in your current position. It is these qualities that you have to develop even more diligently.
Never be shy to ask questions, and do not try to "arrange everything in your own way" from the very beginning. Ask questions not only to those above, but also to the wards (note, not subordinates, but wards). In order not to become an “owl – an effective manager”, do not put your wards in the wheels and do not try to rebuild their usual workflow. Initially, you have to adjust, and not the team for you. And as soon as you get used to it, then something can be changed with small steps.
2) Manager's syndrome
Manager Syndrome is about burnout. And now you have to take care not only about your emotional state, but also about your colleagues. The manager’s syndrome for IT professionals can arise for several reasons:
- The same type of activity, not suggesting any growth;
- Excessive requirements of the head;
- Strong craving for work.
To avoid the first point – you will need to attend to the development of your team. It’s good if you delegate feasible tasks, but you need to give people the opportunity to develop. Offer team members tasks that require not only well-honed skills, but creativity and replenishment of the technology stack. Talk about the prospects, not only personal and career, but also about the prospects for the company. It is important for any person to understand why he is trying and to what purpose this will lead him and those who are close to him.
Here it is worth mentioning that in order not to constantly load a person with complex tasks, it is important not to fall under the second item from the list of reasons.
But what every second good IT specialist is sick with, including you most likely, is a strong desire for work, sometimes developing into workaholism. He has various reasons, the desire to become actualized, grow as a specialist, receive a large salary, etc. But in the end, it prevents the body from functioning normally. And here time management techniques come to the rescue, with which you and your team will meet. The tomato technique, keeping diaries, the Eisenhower matrix or other prioritization techniques, at least the same Pareto method, ABC analysis, you have to learn all this, conduct experiments on yourself and tell the wards about this.
3) Manager or developer?
You will want to do more, because before you were engaged in, say, development, but now you need to keep track of how others work and help them as far as possible. You begin to behave more aggressively, get annoyed if you are approached for help or begin to look at people with a high.
Return to step two again, or think of prioritization. Now your initial priority is not writing code, but delegating responsibilities, ensuring effective team work and planning. Welcome to a post that doesn't have much in common with your previous one in the end.
And here it is necessary either to reconcile and form a clear desire for management, or return to the other side, where there will be more practical work. Note that there is no talk of “demotion,” no one said that a manager or team lead will receive more than the most tech-savvy developer on the team. Here the thing is what you want more. Between the expectations of others and their preferences, you need to choose the second, especially when it comes to work and career.
The same applies not only to you, but also to your team. When you delegate responsibilities, look at how suitable the person is the work that you gave him.
4) Learn to be aware that you don’t always do the right thing
More influence – more chance to make a mistake, less chance that you will be forgiven for this mistake. So you can take it, but the truth is only the first part. Here cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy comes to the rescue, the main idea of which is that a person begins to realize that he cannot control everything that happens in his life, but he can control his thoughts about different events and form an attitude towards them in different ways.
If you react sharply, for example, to criticism, it's time to find irrational roots in this problem, that is, to understand those situations, feelings and thoughts that cause particular discomfort. And then, based on the results of such introspection, form a different model of behavior and rehearse it (similar to how important speeches rehearse in front of a mirror).
When you learn how to cope with your problems in communication, it will be much easier for you to understand how to find a common language with the team.
5) Do not fall into the traps of the subconscious mind when making decisions
Previously, they only listened to your words, they were part of the final assessment. Now you yourself can take into account the views of your team members, but the final word in the decision will still be yours. There are times when decisions are made not only on the basis of statistics or common practices, it is at this point that heuristics come into play.
When you decide to release a new unique service or function in your application for production, especially if you are not working in a large company, you may not have enough data about user research, but you need to make a decision. When you make a decision, think and ask yourself the following questions:
- Was your decision made under the influence of personal feelings or memories from which you tried to collect statistics (Example: “Yes, everyone does it, company N, it has been using it for a long time!”?
Accessibility heuristics sometimes make people overestimate the likelihood of rarely occurring events.
- Is the probability of success of introducing a new function similar to the probability of success of introducing one of the previous ones?
Here, your personal assessment of events also plays a role; you begin to ignore real statistics. It seems to you that the situation is developing one-on-one, like the last time, but the representativeness heuristic suggests that similarities in one thing do not lead to similarities in everything else.
- Are you trying to convince everyone in the room?
By abandoning purely personal assessments in a situation of uncertainty, you will be able to make more rational decisions and you will always have a logical explanation for failure or success.
On this I will end my short series of notes for team lead. Some of them will be useful not only for beginners, but also for old-timers who have long led teams, but want to do it more efficiently. These tips will help to correctly distribute your load, not only moral, but also physical. I hope you find them useful.