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nervousness and tension because of first time team leader responsibility

Monica. Shiralkar
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Joined: Jul 07, 2012
Posts: 644
I am a software engineer in india with around 5 years of experience.My team leader has gone to US and has given me team leader task but i have no experience to be a team leader and managing a team of java developers.Can anyone advice me how to manage this small team of java developers as this is the first time i will do team leader job.I am nervous and tensed because of this.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
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Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30758
    
156

I'm guessing you have the most experience of those on the team. If so, check on how they are doing regularly and what they need help with. Pair program as needed to help convey knowledge. Keep an eye on the critical path and what problems are out there.

Two things to help with the nerves:
1) Ask your boss when you need help. It is ok to ask for advice. There is email in the US . You can come in to another viewpoint on your problems.
2) Ask your teammates for feedback. Ask them what problems they have. Sometimes people are hesitant to bring up problems to "the team lead." And to someone brand new, 5 years of experience makes you an expert and authority!

Good luck.


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Rahul Goyal rg
author
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Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 17
Monica. Shiralkar wrote:I am a software engineer in india with around 5 years of experience.My team leader has gone to US and has given me team leader task but i have no experience to be a team leader and managing a team of java developers.Can anyone advice me how to manage this small team of java developers as this is the first time i will do team leader job.I am nervous and tensed because of this.


Hi Monica,

First of all, congratulations! It's great that your manager has the belief that you can handle it, so clearly you have the capability. It's a great opportunity.

Some suggestions for you:
- Establish a sync-up mechanism with your manager in US. Perhaps every week 30 mins, or so. THis will help you re-caliberate and align as required.
- Most basic of lead tasks is MOnitoring and reporting. Get full understanding of the current processes and make sure the mechanisms are being adhered to.
- Keep in touch with whats happening around you and with other team members, so they feel comfortable coming to you just as they would to your manager. Be their Voice across the ocean.

Couple of don'ts:
- Don't Boss. Be humble.
- Allocate time for this extra work.

Hope this helps,
Rahul Goyal
Monica. Shiralkar
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Joined: Jul 07, 2012
Posts: 644
Thanks all. Not because of belief but just because my experience is more than other team members.
Prasad Krishnegowda
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Joined: Apr 25, 2010
Posts: 537

Monica,
First of all congratulations..
Its not only your experience, its because, you have the capability to lead the team, so only your manager has chosen you for this task.
I started leading my team, 6 months before, when i was 3.5 years experienced ( There were other guys more experienced than me too, but still i got the opportunity) and even today i continue to do so.

Here are my few suggestions to handle your new responsibility.
1. Believe in yourself.
2. Talk to team members everyday, be aware of what each person is doing.
3. Understand your team members strength and weaknesses. Since you were already working in same team, you should be knowing it by now. Knowing this, will help you distribute tasks to right persons. Don't be too centric on work, ask them for any logistical issues, they are facing in office and try to resolve them if you can, or contact your management, if it deserves their attention.
4. Never have an attitude, like, I am the lead, be the same way, as you were before, this will help people come to you for any problems.
5. Prioritize your tasks and let everyone know, what needs to completed first.
6. prepare a report on what each person is doing and the status of those tasks and send it to your managers, at least every week.
7. Be in touch with your manager in onsite and see what needs to be done.

Other ranchers have suggested other tips too.. Please try to follow them..

Good Luck..
Monica. Shiralkar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 07, 2012
Posts: 644
thanks.What do you mean by "Don't be too centric on work, ".

also..since there are more senior software engineers in your team under you dont they feel a problem to work under who is less experienced then them?
Monica. Shiralkar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 07, 2012
Posts: 644
But the employees who are reporting to me..some of them they try to show in front of Project Manager that they are doing more work then me.... and in front of project manage it appears that i am doing lesser work then them...and project manager feels that when juniors are doing that much work I should be doing even more.i am tensed because of all this.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30758
    
156

Monica. Shiralkar wrote:But the employees who are reporting to me..some of them they try to show in front of Project Manager that they are doing more work then me.... and in front of project manage it appears that i am doing lesser work then them...and project manager feels that when juniors are doing that much work I should be doing even more.i am tensed because of all this.

That's not how it should be. When part of your job is helping others with their jobs, you are going to get less hands on work done yourself. This is ok. What you are doing with others also has value. If your PM thinks you aren't doing enough, sit down with him/her and talk about what your priorities are. If you spend 100% of your time coding, you appear more productive than the juniors and the project falls apart from lack of oversight/mentoring. This surely isn't the desired approach.
Prasad Krishnegowda
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 25, 2010
Posts: 537

Monica. Shiralkar wrote:thanks.What do you mean by "Don't be too centric on work, ".

What i meant here was, in status calls, always ask the team members, like are they facing any logistical issues, it may be like, for ex. they need an extra TT table for playing, or any other issues, it may not be your duty to sort out these logistical issues, but make sure, you listen to these and at least highlight these to your management (or) whoever is responsible for this. This will make employees more happy, and these small small happiness helps building respect towards you and also results in more productivity..

Monica. Shiralkar wrote:also..since there are more senior software engineers in your team under you dont they feel a problem to work under who is less experienced then them?

First, I would like to thank, all my seniors for not making this a problem. Also, I never talk to anyone, thinking they are working under me, We all work towards a project and we work together and not for (or) under anyone.
I always include senior people in discussions and also ask their opinions for any new designs (of course, final decision is taken by my senior architect or sometimes, by me too)..
But, this make them feel they are a part of project and brings a sense of belonging, which is the most critical part for any project to be successful..

Prasad Krishnegowda wrote:Never have an attitude, like, I am the lead, be the same way, as you were before, this will help people come to you for any problems.

I meant the above thing, when i said this, never think like, someone is working under you, all are working for a project, and you are mentoring/guiding them..


Prasad Krishnegowda
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 25, 2010
Posts: 537

Monica. Shiralkar wrote:But the employees who are reporting to me..some of them they try to show in front of Project Manager that they are doing more work then me.... and in front of project manage it appears that i am doing lesser work then them...and project manager feels that when juniors are doing that much work I should be doing even more.i am tensed because of all this.

Jeanne, already have given a very good advice for this.. But, here are my just 2 cents.

As a leader, your success lies in your team success and not yours alone. No leader can be a successful leader, because of only his/her efforts, it requires the whole team(or majority) to be successful, If someone whom you are leading, is doing exceptionally well, it's your success too, because, you are bringing the best of them under you. Never feel unsecured like, someone is trying to overtake you.. Always, enjoy your teammates success...

Also, if management/PM, feels that you are doing well but not others(team), it means you are not able to properly lead the team and guide them..
Finally, you will be considered a failure, even if you do exceptionally well, but the project is not able to meet its standards or meet the deadlines..
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3223
Also, it is quite common for your team to be a little uncooperative towards a new leader, and you need to slowly work on earning their respect. It can be a bit challenging in the beginning, but things should settle down with a good collaborative style management.


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