Being a Development Manager means taking on the responsibility of not just managing code, but managing a team of individuals who will create that code. It’s a daunting task, but with the right mindset and approach, it can also be incredibly rewarding.
First and foremost, a Development Manager should focus on building a great team. Without a great team, there is no great code or product. Take the time to get to know each team member – their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes – and figure out how you can help them grow and develop their skills. Monthly one-on-one’s are a great way to do this, as they give each team member time to sit down and talk with you about their work.
It’s important to remember that your team is not a factory. The most rewarding part of being a developer is being creative and coming up with new ideas and approaches to solving problems. If you take that away from your team, they will become disengaged and unmotivated. As a leader, strive to create an environment where new ideas are encouraged and supported.
Being honest and open with your team is also key to building a successful team. You don’t have to know everything – in fact, it’s better if you don’t. Admit when you don’t know something, and be open to learning from your team. This will help them feel more comfortable sharing their ideas and insights with you, and will ultimately lead to a stronger team.
Helping your team members grow and develop their skills is another important part of being a Development Manager. Think of your team as plants that you want to help grow into trees. Take the time to understand each team member’s career goals, and work with them to create a path to get there.
Above all, trust your team. Trust that they will make the right decisions and step up when needed. By fostering a culture of trust and accountability, you can create a team that is both productive and happy.
Building a great team and nurturing them into a cohesive unit takes time and effort, but the results are well worth it. By focusing on the individuals, fostering a creative environment, being open and honest, helping them grow, and building trust, you can become a true leader – not just a manager.