The idea of being at the forefront of a group of people in a work setting is, at a minimum, complex. You have to maintain performance and push for a strong velocity, while at the same time, understanding that people need room to grow and reach for new levels of skill or career advancement. More into the latter, that is where most tend to have difficulty.
Nobody wants to be in a situation where there is no growth potential, and situations like that lead to the constant churn of team members. While that is a reality of the corporate landscape today, it doesn’t have to be the way it is for most teams today. The way I see it quality management and opportunities are the keys, and in this article, we’ll go over a few solid ways to better engage and level up your team!
Embrace The Possibility Of Failure
Growth without failure is not possible and is very much impractical. Most teams, people even, fail to understand this which leads to fear and pressure in every initiative taken on. While challenging projects are meant to instill these two feelings, this point is less about that. This is more about the feeling that an initiative/project failure will lead to the loss of a job or regressed career progression.
To properly level up and grow your team, you have to remove that. Failing to accomplish an OKR or initiative, no matter how important, isn’t the end of the world. Timelines and release dates can always be reconfigured, being realistic, you have to accept that. When you encourage the understanding that failure is ok, this allows team members to be more vocal about issues. Which then, lets us get ahead of things and be used as great learning experiences. The lesson learned will be the driving force in growth and maturity.
It’s normal for a person to have a feeling of wanting to immediately step in to ensure something is done on time and correctly. It’s simply human nature. To be an effective forefront of your team, you mostly have to let this go. People only grow when they have the room to do so.
This doesn’t mean let them make mistake after mistake and bang their head into the wall out of frustration. It’s more about stepping in only when needed and giving people the opportunity to develop the skills needed to mitigate and navigate their own shortcomings.
Limit Ego In Your Team
The average personality of the typical engineer today can be most easily seen leaning over on the side of overconfidence early in our careers. It’s a natural, and an understood aspect of human development. However, a strong team that grows together has to have that caped. Not so much where you’re destroying confidence, but to the point where it won’t negatively impact the overall quality of the team.
Give Back Fraction Of Time
A great concept at FAANG level companies is giving employees 20% of their time to work on initiatives of their own creating within product offering of the company. This leads to innovation and personal investment in the company’s success. New ideas don’t need to always come from the top-down, exhausting brainstorming, or from a customer request. There are great flows of ideas that can come from the people that work in the product/platform day in and day out. Let them explore those ideas, and you may just get a big winner.
People are difficult. It takes a lot of life lived, and the ability to put yourself aside to understand all the intricate aspects. This is a key for any person that wants to be at the forefront of a group of other people. Unfortunately, with the promotion-centric and ladder climbing professional environment we live in, it fastly has become an extinct skill.
The list of tips I shared won’t get you 100% of the way where you’ll have said understanding. That takes a ton of reprogramming and self-reflection. However, what they do well is put you on the path to get there!