Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 5

Saying No

One of the most important skills in leadership, is knowing how and when to say ‘no’.  It might sound trivial but it’s really far from it.  There’s an excellent chapter in The Clean Coder by Uncle Bob Martin.  I was fortunate enough to read this prior to having been put in a situation where I needed to say no and I found it  invaluable in hindsight, would highly recommend.

As a fresh Lead you will no doubt have a number of challenges in managing client expectations, and at points they will inevitably ask too much of both you and your team.  It’s times like these when you will gain the respect of the client for your honesty and integrity and the gratitude of your team for not putting them in awkward situations.

It’s easy to say yes, don’t fall into that trap, but just remember there’s a right way to do it.

Humour

Having a good time at work is vital for staff retention, a good working environment, your happiness and ultimately will aid productivity.  There may be ‘dull’ patches in projects when you are on Cruise Control (it’s not all rock and roll), in these times I’ve found it important to be able to have fun with your team.  Humour connects people and if you can figure out what makes your team tick it can be potent when things are rough.

Humour
Humour

Don’t ask your team to do what you are not willing to do yourself

You should be leading by example, but equality in your expectations extends beyond day-to-day work.  I learnt this from my first Manager.  If  I was doing a deployment, they were there.  If I was on call, they were contactable.  This made a big difference.

You can’t be around all the time, and you won’t be expected to be, but whenever you can be you probably should be if there’s work above and beyond the day job going on in your team.  It’ll build trust and solidarity in that if you expect others to put themselves out, you should be willing to make the same sacrifice.

Asking your team to work all weekend and not making an appearance probably won’t go down well, and while they probably aren’t elephants, they probably won’t forget either.

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