How To Fast-Track Your Way Up The Corporate Ladder
28 October, 2021
Engineering talent is in high demand across the globe. As an engineering leader, one of the scary parts of my job was figuring out who would lead next. Choosing the right leaders of tomorrow is crucial because, as we all know, people don’t leave jobs and leave bad managers. It is never an easy decision to promote the next senior engineer in the line or bring someone from outside of the organization. Therefore, it felt a lot of pressure on my shoulders to identify the right people to promote and choose future leaders.
Switching Teams Inside the Company
To begin with, we started switching our engineers to different teams and projects quarterly to avoid knowledge silos and spread the domain knowledge. Again, this brought in an avalanche of challenges because it was difficult to identify whom to switch in which team for the optimal result. However, I started moving people into different squads thoughtfully, where every engineer was supposed to move to another group every quarter. Although people didn’t feel comfortable initially, this helped engineers with fresh perspectives and opportunities and expanded their knowledge to multiple projects required for a leader.
Make Yourself Redundant
Once I experimented with switching teams, we encountered challenges with a lack of documentation for new people to pick up the code, and it took longer to catch up on new projects. This encouraged us to focus on coding best practices with good comments and documenting all critical parts of the projects. Our mantra to every leader was - “make yourself redundant” - so that they could teach others what they already mastered and create space for them to do new things.
Set Goals to Reach the Career Path
Furthermore, by creating internal goals and career paths for everyone, we formed an outline that our team members can follow for becoming leaders. If an engineer were always writing the code, they would never open the doors to becoming a leader. Instead, we created goals for senior members to spend less time writing code and more time reviewing code, and spending time with cross-functional teams. This expanded their exposure to other functional areas, which is a prerequisite for becoming a leader.
- When a leader wants to achieve a goal, there has to be equal motivation for team members. You have to make sure that everyone is aligned with the outcome.
- The process of only shuffling team members will not help. There has to be inherent motivation and a shift in culture for a team to succeed.
- Nurturing leaders within the team created positive ripple effects where junior members were excited about the clear path to leadership and how the management was supportive in a transparent manner.
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