In the software development services industry — people are the software company’s #1 asset. With pressure to deliver faster with fewer resources, increasingly distributed teams, and savvy customers — software companies need to find ways to build capable leaders within their organizations.
But how are next-generation tech leaders built?
I spoke to Mike Lim, VP for Engineering at Exist, who by the way is currently enrolled at the prestigious Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA program, about this and here’s my non-verbatim summary of our short exchange:
Give people the opportunity to lead, even with small projects. Assign him/her a role, instead of giving tasks. This will give the person room to be creative and innovative. This’ll give him/her a chance to demonstrate what he/she can be capable of.
It’s not having the title of a “manager”. One can be a mentor to another, give inputs and share his/her experience to a peer, and not have the role of a manager. That’s why “we get people to work as a team, so that we can see the dynamics.”
Implement “shadowing”. New hires and folks fresh out from college need to be ramped up to the way we do things, technologies and tooling that we use — and shadowing gives them the opportunity to observe and learn faster, while providing their mentors a chance to show his/her soft skills, which are an important element of a leader.
I had a chat with Tae Abe-Abion, General Manager at SpiceWorx Consultancy and Head for the Japan Market Special Interest Group in the Philippine Software Industry Association, about leadership a long time ago and she shared that high performers and poor players must be treated equally, but differently.
It doesn’t mean giving up on the poor performer. Influencing even the poor performer to perform better is what leaders must be able to do.
We know when we didn’t do well. I don’t need someone to tell us we didn’t do well because I know it best. In such time, what inspires us and makes us want to do better the next time around is a simple recognition — an encouragement, not another reminder of the fact that we did something incompetently.
How are YOU building your leaders?