Notes: Introduction to Leadership and Management for Developers

This is my first writeup on the medium blog so please excuse brevity! I am a software developer by profession. Trying to learn something new I stumbled upon a course Introduction to Leadership and Management for Developers by Dan Appleman from Pluralsight

The course is fantastic and is entirely pragmatic! Most of the traits covered in this course are already practiced by most of software developers and managers like us(consciously or unconsciously) or you may have read these in some management or psychology books. Nonetheless, this course will act as a great refresher! This 4 hrs course is nicely compiled by author who himself was a developer for 20+ years and he tried to explain leadership as a dev task. He emphasizes the important of having emotional intelligence at work and stresses the fact that in order to lead effectively we should use emotion as well as logic i.e. a balance of left and right brain. Also, one should never assume that what you said is what they actually heard. What you say doesn’t matter, all that matters is how it was interpreted.

I prepared some rough notes during this course. Feel free to glance through them (attached). I want to echo the closing comments of this course that you may be leader or not, acquiring these leadership skills is good to keep in your armory. It is like insurance policy. You may never want to use it but it’s nice to know it’s there if you need it 😊

  • Many techniques which are used to solve for software programs can be applied to solve human or managerial problems
  • Awareness of the state of computer box/human is very important during interactions
  • We are all idiots, at least some of the times. People are not rational, they are rationalizing
  • Effective leaders and managers use emotion as well as logic
  • Self control is essential part of leadership and management. You cannot control people. You can only control your action and through them influence others
  • As a manager your job is not to fix people. You cannot. All you can do is provide some tools, some ways of thinking , some knowledge and some specific techniques
  • We tend to find what we look for. You’re best off looking for best
  • If you want to change the interaction with people the only way is to change the input
  • Role modelling is the single most important and effective leadership technique.
  • We are all leaders to a degree. How control of your actions also controls the way in which you influence others
  • Role modeling is always on. You are always on stage
  • We are center of our own universe. To understand other it requires us to look outside of our own universe, which itself is a challenge. So Ask questions!
  • Explain your decisions: It build respect. No one can read your mind
  • People are often selfish, but rarely malicious
  • Take a stand — Embrace failures, It is one of your greatest teachers
  • Never assume that what you said is what they actually heard. What you say doesn’t matter, all that matters is how it was interpreted
  • Emotion drives engagement and attention. It makes them people to listen and understand
  • Use positive-negative-positive form of communication when criticizing(praise sandwich).
  • Active listening is as important as expecting other to understand your point
  • Invite disagreements
  • Mistakes are gift of learning, Learn and move on
  • Managing your managers. People who bring solution to problem are more appreciated
  • Keep promises
  • In any situation look for silver lining. Look for problems as a path towards improvement
  • Choose your battles wisely. Prioritize-focus on issues you care about.
  • Under promise and over deliver
  • Closing thoughts: Leadership is a choice. Having these leadership skills is good. You may never want to use it but it’s nice to know it’s there if you need it

-Abhineet

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