Santhosh Sundar

@santhoshsundar

Developer’s Guide to Being a Better Leader — Cultivate a Sense of Hope

Things aren’t always as smooth as we expect. There are times we undergo pressure to meet a deadline or fixing a critical bug that’s preventing our team(s) from proceeding with their tasks or releases. There are many things that could go wrong while dealing with stress. Stress-induced decisions could impact one’s ability to solve a problem. According to a study at Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, the competency in judgment is always compromised under stress.

As a leader, you are ought to step-in and mitigate the situation. Your presence matters the most as it signals that you care about the team — that should be your first item on the list to keep the team’s morale high. They always count on you and your actions. A team that stays calm and focused under the influence of its leader tend to solve the problems effectively.

There is not much the technology can do if your developers aren’t treated right while they are pushing their limits to meet the perceived demands.

Consider a situation where you are busy with important tasks and there’s a developer who is struggling to solve a problem due to heightened pressure. You may not be able to help him or her explicitly. But just walking up to him or her and speaking simple words like “Hey, how is it going? Let me know if there is anything that I can help you with.” can go a long way. You are cultivating a sense of hope and easing the pressure. Now take the same situation, but if you as a leader walks up and asks “Hey, is it resolved? When can I expect it to be fixed?” — that’s probably a boss in you speaking, not a leader. It is often said that actions are important than words, but in special conditions, it can also be the other way around.

It is important for a leader to identify the strength and weaknesses of all the developers in the team. According to the same study at the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, while some individuals elevate their performance, others are vulnerable to the negative impacts of stress. Knowing your developers’ ability to cope with stress will help you decide how you can use the very stress as a tool to either assign the right resource for a project that is imminent to face stressful situations or mitigate by sending in someone who performs under stress.

Individuals whose performance is impacted with increase in stress
Individuals whose performance is likely to improve under stress

There is not much the technology can do if your developers aren’t treated right while they are pushing their limits to meet the perceived demands. The chances of writing bad code increases as the pressure mounts, which is an added effort to those who review the code. Now that’s expensive!

Strategic, but empathetic decisions like these can help cultivate a sense of hope and uplifts the morale of your team. Thus resulting in the growth of individuals as well as the organization.

As Theodore Roosevelt states — “Believe you can and you’re halfway there”.

Developer’s Guide to Being a Better Leader is a series that focuses on understanding the nitty-gritty of leadership skills required as a technologist to bring a team of developers together and deliver quality results. It is an attempt to generate more leaders who boost productivity in their teams that helps accelerate the innovation of newer products and services.

Other articles in this series:

This is the first post in the series. Stay tuned for more to come. If you like, please follow, share this post and write your comments below.

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