Back to resources

Career Conversation With Your Rockstar Developer

Career Path
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Performance
Internal Communication

10 December, 2019

Kartik Lakshminarayanan
Kartik Lakshminarayanan

Manager of Engineering at Grove

Kartik Lakshminarayanan, Platform architect at Illumio, shares how he dealt with a rockstar developer and more broadly, how to encourage soft skills development by a developer who aspires to become a team leader.

Problem

We had a very prolific developer and an amazing engineer on our team. He was fast-paced and his co-workers were complaining that his tempo was hard to sustain. When confronted with these complaints he stated that he is not challenged enough and that the team is lazy and slow. If you aspire to be a great team leader you have to take on a different perspective and take a step back every once in a while. He clearly was not challenged enough but he also lacked non-technical skills to make the team function adequately.

Actions taken

To address the problem of the insufficient challenge, we discussed and then compared his roadmap proposal for the upcoming three-year period and the proposal developed by the rest of the team. It was apparent that the differences are insurmountable and that this is no place for him. After mutually agreeing about the differences, we reached the conclusion that he should not stay on the team. I helped him find a more suitable position within the company. There, he was technically challenged and consequently more satisfied. I understood that replacing a developer of his caliber would affect the velocity with which the team worked. But the team was slowed down by his behavior too. I was aware that we are jeopardizing the release with him being away. I talked to management and explained the situation. The management raised the same concerns about jeopardizing the release. I conveyed to them what the team estimated -- that they will be able to complete 80-90 percent of what was initially planned. The management assessed it was a risk but let us proceed. Eventually, the team delivered the assigned task with only one week of delay because of the improved morale. Lessons learned

  • Any aspiring team leader needs to build soft skills. Find some interesting courses, improve your habits, connect with managers.
  • You also need a champion in the company. This person should not necessarily be a manager but has to be willing to help others. I acted like a champion to four of my mentees and three of them have been successful moving up the career ladder. What I have learned from my mentors many years ago is that the champion is someone who is willing to nurture a relationship that transcends the technical point of view.
  • Once a manager, you need to be a champion. To further develop your potential, find a person within the company whom you admire as a manager and build a relationship with that person. Though you initially will not be able to contribute much to that relationship, it should be a symbiotic relationship and both sides should contribute to its development.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

How to Manage an Employee With Depression

24 September

Sachin Shah, CTO, discusses how he dealt with and supported a team member with mental health challenges while handling project deadlines.

Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Juniors
Leadership
Motivation
Performance
Sachin Shah

Sachin Shah

CTO at Self Employeed

Helping Your Reports Become Managers

19 September

Michael Scotto, Director of Quality Assurance at Niche, tells how he helped one of his reports become a manager, preparing them meticulously for the role over a period of six months.

Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Career Path
Michael Scotto

Michael Scotto

Director of Quality Assurance at Niche.com

Relationship-Based Development

19 September

Rohit Karanam, Director, Product Management at Teradata, uncovers why building relationships is key to his leadership style that focuses on helping his reports grow in their careers.

Leadership
Impact
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Rohit Karanam

Rohit Karanam

Director, Product Management at Teradata

Managing People More Experienced Than You

15 September

Gaurav Sharma, Engineering Manager at GlobalLogic, shares how he identified the personality profile of each person before working with them.

Different Skillsets
Internal Communication
Goal Setting
Juniors
Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma

Engineering Manager at GlobalLogic

Actions That Help Leaders Grow

15 September

Bertrand Dubaut, Director of Engineering at Zivver, explains how it was tough to grow an open dialogue culture and describes how to mitigate it.

Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Meetings
Performance
Bertrand Dubaut

Bertrand Dubaut

Director of Engineering at Zivver

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.