Software Engineering at Google Book Notes | Chapter #5 - How to Lead a Team (2 of 3)

Software Engineering at Google Chapter #5 - How to Lead a Team (2 of 3)

  • Teach the low performer how to walk -> jog -> run
  • You may need to temporarily micromanage the low performer
  • Check in weekly with the low performer, be honest about progress
  • Don’t confuse soft touch leadership with friendship
  • You can build consensus, lead, and be a tough leader with completely foregoing close friendship
  • Have lunch with your team to stay socially connected without making them uncomfortable
  • You may need to micromanage individuals, but constant micromanagement of an individual is a hiring failure
  • Don’t treat your team like children or they will act like children
  • There is a difference between being humble and being a doormat
  • The best way to accomplish management’s goals is to let the people who do the work flesh out the details because they know best
  • When the team self-organizes around a project it creates a sense of responsibility and accountability for the success of the project - they own it
  • Don’t pretend you have all the answers, don’t pretend you’re right all the time
  • People respect leaders who apologize when they mess up
  • Be less vocal about your skepticism, but be aware of the work that’s happening - keep a watchful eye and intervene when necessary
  • Leaders are always on stage 24/7, always being watched
  • If someone asks for advice don’t give answers, ask questions instead. This allows them to find the answer themselves.
  • Be a Catalyst -- build consensus, bring people together
  • People without authority can easily be a catalyst by setting up meetings and chats to clarify things and bring people together to move forward
  • Some roadblocks are technical, some are organizational (policies, etc)
  • You don’t need to remove the roadblocks yourself, you can act as a catalyst
  • When mentoring, one must make a tradeoff between time spent learning and time spent contributing to work tasks
  • To be a mentor one needs to know their team’s systems and processes, have the ability to gauge how much help the mentee needs, and the ability to teach
  • Set clear goals. Check in periodically to make sure everything is still on target.



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