Something I’ve seen many people struggle with is the ability to take constructive criticism, and inversely offer it.
Giving Constructive Criticism
I’ve previously recommended being free with advice. An extension to this, and a vital leadership skill is the ability to critique a colleague’s work without causing offence. Obviously being rude about someone’s work will alienate them and earn you no favours, but it’s often the case that a colleague won’t quite have understood the direction in which you wanted them to head with a certain task. There’s a couple of things personally you can take from this : Continue reading “Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 8”
My partner had never seen Star Wars Episodes 1, 2 and 3 (lucky her you may say, I might agree), and was actively against the idea of “wasting time” doing so. As films in their own right, generally I could take them or leave them but I also understand the relative importance of knowing how Darth Vader came to be, and quite enjoy the completeness of watching them all in the correct order (that’s another story).
…and it’s fair to say that 99% of the time, neither will your app be. Be realistic regarding what you can achieve and by when. Everything about the Agile methodology points to being able to work sustainably, and getting better at doing so along the way. There’s many articles about picking a vertical stripe or horizontal stripes through your architecture and delivering a concise set of functionality. My advice would be, don’t let your chosen stripe get too fat. If you can’t hit an imposed deadline, be honest and say ‘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.
Don’t be afraid to tackle situations that will push you out of your comfort zone, you’ll always be better for it. If you’re :
nervous about a presentation, do it;
putting off an awkward conversation, have it;
unfamiliar with a technology, learn it.
…you get the picture.
There are of course limits, be sensible. Start small, Rome wasn’t built in a day and so on, but each time you tackle something new your horizon has expanded slightly, you’ll be unstoppable. Have confidence.