I am not going to lie. I wanted to write about this trying to watch out not to hurt anyone’s feelings. But you know what? That is not fair. Some people need to be called out. So here is the naked truth about working in a team.
I see a well functioning team as a puzzle with pieces fitting smoothly together.
Like in a puzzle, there is no boss-piece. Or, if you are thinking about the corners/frame pieces, you will also remember that they too are part of the puzzle. So, the project manager or boss of any team needs to be able to define frames and make sure that the team has what it needs to give its best.
In so many cases before, engineering career included, it was definitely not the case. The boss was a boss was a boss. And they always felt the need to leave their imprint, exercise their authority by imposing unnecessary changes. All for the ego, he! And because like the saying ‘fish stinks from its head down’, such behaviours were to be quickly adopted by members of the team as well. Soon enough the team was mainly made from ‘I’s.
Fortunately, I got to experience the opposite as well. That is how I can say a good boss/manager whatever can also let you shine, allows you to demonstrate your expertise, and, the best of all, relies on your advice. He will show a direction and let you take the wheel. He will consult with you and make a decision based on what you said. He will listen. He will push back but justify that.
When that happens, guess what?
Not only the atmosphere will become more relaxed because people will feel that they are valued, but, more often than not, everybody in the team will follow. Deadlines will become exciting, not painful. They will rely on each other, they will trust each other’s judgments and respect their opinions. In short, they will work together.
What’s the takeaway from this?
Sure, there are plenty of seminars, webinars, and coaching programs that teach people how to lead. But I think they all boil down to being humble and empathetic but firm and decisive is the way to go as a leader.