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Succeeding as a New Leader in Technology


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Navigating the transition from individual contributor to leader can be a difficult endeavor if you are not properly prepared. This transition represents a paradigm shift on many different levels. As you progress in your career, you will undoubtedly encounter this transition. You must be mentally and emotionally prepared to change behaviors and thought patterns that you may have developed over your career to that point.

We will discuss some tips that I have gleaned form my own experience in transitioning from software engineer, to software engineering manager, to director of software engineering.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Succeeding as a New Leader in Technology

  1. 1. SUCCEEDING AS A NEW LEADER IN TECHNOLOGY Nate Brown Desert Code Camp 2017.1
  2. 2. ABOUT ME • Director of Software Engineering at AppointmentPlus • Team of 25+ in US and India • SaaS using LAMP, Laravel, Angular, React, Vue • Mobile apps in iOS and Android • MS Office apps in C# .Net • Previous roles • Software Development Manager at AppointmentPlus • Lead Software Developer at AppointmentPlus • Senior Application Systems Analyst at University of Arizona College of Medicine • Workstation Specialist at Saint Xavier University • Freelance/Self-Employed Multimedia Designer
  3. 3. IT WORKED FOR ME • “Reverse engineered” the successes in my own journey • There are other ways! • I’m still new and learning
  4. 4. OVERVIEW • Give It Time • Realize It’s No Longer About You • Manage Expectations • Engage in Healthy Team and Self-promotion • Develop the Intangibles • Be a Sponge • Start Networking • Think Forward, Outward, and Downward
  5. 5. GIVE IT TIME • Moving from an individual contributor to a leader is not an overnight transition, it’s a transformation process • You are breaking old habits, behaviors, and patterns that you have operated in throughout your entire career to this point • Put in effort to make the necessary changes and do not be passive during the transition • Seek the help of your manager and peers if you encounter challenges during the transition
  6. 6. REALIZE IT’S NO LONGER ABOUT YOU • Your success is now measured by your team’s performance and growth • Trust and delegation are going to be invaluable • Develop your replacement
  7. 7. MANAGE EXPECTATIONS • Your direct manager • Review your job description • Identify your success metrics • Plan a follow-up meeting • Your direct reports • Solicit feedback • Know what they need to be successful • What are their roadblocks? • Your new peers • Your ability to collaborate with other leaders will be a vital factor contributing to your success • Discuss needs and expectations for your new role • Follow-up • consolidate the feedback and identify conflicts • develop goals and an action plan with manager
  8. 8. ENGAGE IN HEALTHY TEAM AND SELF-PROMOTION • Your team’s wins are also your wins • Publicly praise your team and highlight extra effort and achievements • Communicate your team’s individual successes upwards • Understand your company’s metrics and objectives • Build and maintain a consistent professional image upwards and downwards
  9. 9. “ ” Leadership is solving problems. The day [people] stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. -- Colin Powell
  10. 10. DEVELOP THE INTANGIBLES • Keep solving problems • Develop your emotional intelligence • Identify your leadership story and develop your leadership voice • Continuously improve your leadership skills and build up transferrable skills • Make meaningful contributions to discussions and become a thought leader • Appreciate every achievement, but always seek to improve • Maintain a positive, solutions-oriented attitude
  11. 11. “ ” Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. -- William Pollard
  12. 12. BE A SPONGE Build/diversify knowledge • Have at least a basic understanding of the primary functions of other business units • Gather knowledge regarding best practices for management and general business functions • Focused on putting people, processes, procedures and systems in place Share knowledge • Don’t just absorb, dispense! • Withholding information, whether malicious or unintentional, is counter- productive
  13. 13. “ ” Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. -- John F. Kennedy
  14. 14. START NETWORKING • Leaders understand the value of relationships • Effective leadership is just as much about collaboration as it is about contribution • There is little you can accomplish without the buy in and participation of other leaders. • Strive to provide value in every relationship, rather than only withdrawing value from others
  15. 15. “ ” Networking is all about connecting with people. But then again, isn't that what life is about? The more time you can find to get out of the office and build true friendships, the farther [you] will go. -- Jay Samit, Independent Vice Chairman of Deloitte Digital
  16. 16. THINK FORWARD, OUTWARD, AND DOWNWARD • Your value is no longer tied exclusively to how well you execute tasks • Think forward: think strategically beyond the immediate need and analyze the downstream implications • Think outward: build meaningful connections and develop empathy • Think downward: consider your team’s needs and innovations and bring them forward
  17. 17. SUMMARY • Give It Time – be patient, you don’t have to change overnight • Realize It’s No Longer About You – your team’s success is your success • Manage Expectations – of your leaders, your team, and your peers • Engage in Healthy Team and Self-promotion – highlight your wins • Develop the Intangibles – solve problems, connect, be positive • Be a Sponge – absorb and dispense knowledge • Start Networking – leadership is all about relationships • Think Forward, Outward, and Downward – look beyond yourself
  18. 18. Thanks for listening!