Path To Become A Leader In A Software Development Team

It’s been almost five years since I started my first job as a software development trainee. Since than till now a lot has been changed in my career. Now I am managing a team of twelve.

I started with a mindset of developer. At that time I was a nerd and used to think only about the coding. I was more interested in learning different technologies to prove myself as a good developer. The vision was absolutely clear and path was well defined. And most importantly I was responsible for my tasks only. That means I was having full control over my work.

After two years of development suddenly things got changed when I was handed over with a team. As I became responsible for others work(the work of my team members) the control of work was not completely in hands. In such a situation managing work became difficult as each member in the team used to think different, work differently and had different level of skills. Creating a balance in all these things is not well defined in any book unlike programming language where everything is clearly defined. All this management is contextual. It all depends on you conscience how you manage this.

The first and biggest challenge anyone ever face in management is when he is lifted a level up from his peers and he has to prove himself as a leader among his peers. When you are given a team it doesn’t mean that you are a leader. You need to prove yourself as a leader in your team otherwise team might reject you as a leader. Creating such space in team is a difficult job you need to have a lot of patience for this as it takes time. But patience is not the only thing which can make this happen you need to prove yourself in skills(communication, social, technical) also.

People think leadership is all about dominance. But this is completely wrong thought. In today’s software world the team work in collaborative fashion and leader is not the only one who decides the things himself instead he works as a servant leader. Todays role of leader in a software development team is more of a facilitator than dictator. Leader is responsible for foreseeing the things in the path of the development and anticipating the problems but decision making on the solutions is done by the team.

Some people think being technically dominating in a group can make them a successful leader. It is again a myth. This is just one side of the coin you need need be socially acceptable by the team. You make the team get out the problem or you are driving the team technically can make you dominating but cannot build a team spirit. In such a team the project can be accomplished but in team context the team cannot grow as you are limiting its growth. Moreover the moral value of the team will be low. Dependency in such a team would be high and you will be overworked all the time.

To make a really strong team it is very necessary to focus of team spirit and team development. This always starts from the leader itself. Making team more involved and more valued help in this.