Plato Elevate Winter Summit has been announced (Dec 7th-8th)

🔥

Back to resources

Developing Leaders: What to Do When Your Team Starts to Grow

Scaling Team
Juniors

21 May, 2021

Desiree Craig
Desiree Craig

VP, Product & Technology at uLesson

Desiree Craig, VP, Product and Technology at uLesson, shares how effectively she solved a deep-rooted problem with her team to empower the managers of tomorrow.

Problem

A few years ago, I was managing a team of interns. I was over the moon as they were young and always eager to learn. When our company expanded in size, my responsibilities also increased. Then, I was managing three experienced team members along with the interns, which eventually became a team of five. A group of five is pretty manageable, but what happened to be the problem was when the output of our team was showing lower than when we just had the interns.

I was personally frustrated because it felt like we had a lot of investment in the team, but the return on investment was not justifiable in terms of quality output. When I assessed the situation, I realized that the problem was how I was managing the team. Essentially, I was trying to manage everyone in the team the way I like to be managed. This made it difficult to truly get the best out of everyone.

Actions taken

When there is a problem, sit and identify the problem. That is precisely what I did. I identified that we were not delivering increased output. The root cause of this was because I hadn’t taken the time to properly understand each team member and what motivated them and how they thrived. Being the leader, I had the resources, knowledge, and budget, but I needed to find a solid strategy that I could implement to increase the quality of the output.

Working with the same people can help you see them clearly. So, my next step was to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each person in my team and assign them tasks based on their unique strengths. Something that correlates with this is treating them as different individuals in a team rather than treating 5 people as 1. I became more aware of the fact that in a team, there are people who are fine with working on multiple projects at a time, while others would choose to focus on one thing at a time. I had to experiment with that.

A part of me was starting to believe that “help” was just a four-letter word. It indeed is, and I started seeking help from managers who have more leadership and management experience than I did and whom I can call mentors. I read plenty of articles online, which surely guided me a lot. This helped me to remodel my mindset that managing a team is a lot about empowering. I needed to empower my team members in the same way my mentors encouraged me.

Lessons learned

  • Manage people the way they want to be managed, not the way you want to manage. It is all about your team members' preferences and how best to work with them to deliver value to the organisation while achieving their personal goals. . In this way, you will get the best out of your team.
  • If there is a problem with the team, it is the manager who is accountable for it. While the manager may not be the one directly doing the work, when anything happens, whether good or bad, the manager has to come up with a solution. Instead of depending on others.
  • It is very important to overcome your fears or reservations and ask for help. I spoke to managers and different mentors only to provide the best for my team and be the best manager for them. Feel free to reach out to someone you feel comfortable with and discuss the problems weighing you down.

Discover Plato

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


Related stories

Delegate successfully as a first time manager of Product Managers

24 November

Andrew Tsui, a Product Leader, works to build great teams that are independent, demonstrate mastery of their domain, and fully commit to their purpose.

Scaling Team
Building A Team
Delegate
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Psychological Safety
Cross-Functional Collaboration
New Manager
Andrew Tsui

Andrew Tsui

Director of Product at Startup

Inviting Juniors to Learn New Skills

23 November

William Bajzek, Director of Engineering at Sapphire Digital, is always keeping his eyes open for ways that he can give his team a chance to learn something new.

Different Skillsets
Juniors
William Bajzek

William Bajzek

Director of Engineering at Sapphire Digital

How to Build Rapport With an Introverted Manager

17 November

Piyush Dubey, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft, shares his journey of climbing up the career ladder through awkward times dealing with an introverted manager.

Managing Expectations
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Juniors
Piyush Dubey

Piyush Dubey

Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft

Building a Long-Lasting Career Infrastructure Using Ikigai Principles

16 November

Albert Lie, former Founding Engineer and Tech Lead at Xendit, shares his annual performance review process implementing principles from the Ikigai framework into regular check-ins.

Alignment
Scaling Team
Personal Growth
Meetings
Motivation
Albert Lie

Albert Lie

Former Tech Lead at Xendit

The Power of Collaboration Between Junior and Senior Engineers

9 November

Frédéric Duperier explains his process of pairing juniors and seniors to fill the knowledge gap and learn new techniques.

Scaling Team
Collaboration
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Juniors
Frédéric Duperier

Frédéric Duperier

Founder at We Are One Sarl

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.