Traits of True 10x Engineering Leaders

Traits of True 10x Engineering Leaders

Gunjan Doshi by   Gunjan Doshi  |  June 22, 2017  |  0

Last week, we hosted 20+ leaders of engineering teams for our first event in our new innovation center, 10x Engineering Manager Bootcamp. The need for this workshop came from witnessing how complex it can be to manage engineering teams in agile environments. It’s designed to enable leaders within an organization to lead their teams more efficiently by identifying common obstacles and equipping them with best practices to enable a stronger team. Some of the larger takeaways include thoughts on mindset, time management, people management styles, hiring, and learning and growth.

One of the most well-received takeaways was around the traits of a true 10x Engineering leader. In summary:

10x Engineering Leaders have a high-velocity, high-impact mindset

For 10x engineering leaders, the number one goal is to get results. Great talent with expertise in modern technologies is crucial, but it means nothing if a team does not execute efficiently. Agile teams are supposed to be ‘self-managed’, but the burning question is still “what is your team’s impact”? Enterprises run on results. On the backend, leaders must swiftly navigate many conflicting forces and learning to accept that you can’t please everyone. At the end of the day, teams are measured by ability to get results, attract and retain talent and staying relevant, and massive action with a high sense of urgency always wins.

10x Engineering leaders take complete ownership of priority 1s

Enterprise software development is constantly VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) and it can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day. 10x leaders remain aware of priority 1s and before the day is over, they make sure to spend time working on them. They create maniacal focus to maintain momentum.

10x Engineering leaders practice the art of communicating, delegating and negotiating

Most 10x engineering leaders are very good at communicating upwards, downwards and across. This is imperative, because delegating and negotiating are extremely challenging without strong communication skills. These three areas can be detrimental to a team if they are not done properly. Put mechanisms in place to ensure your team can operate independently and hold your team accountable.

10x Engineering leaders know people management should exceed project management by 4:1

People management is grooming and growing your people so that they can do their jobs better. 10x leaders become masters of growth, coaching and inspiring intrinsic motivation. They spend time leading their teams and enabling them to better support the organization and they remember to feed the winners. Being able to identify and invest in the stronger members of your team, versus the weaker, is an invaluable lesson. Giving a “winner” your time will result in 10X returns, as time is your most valuable currency. Giving that same time to a lower-performer may not return dividends.

10x Engineering leaders stay relevant and own technical debt

Technical debt is not something you can pass from technical teams to the product team, or any other part of an organization. 10x leaders spend time addressing the problems and focus on creating solutions to reduce this debt today and in the future.

10x Engineering leaders are cultural catalysts

Culture may start from the top, but 10x leaders are true engines of the company. Their focus ensures they do not get fall into the trap of the victim mindset or solely taking orders from above. These leaders understand the culture and have the unique power to solicit change from the organization.

Watch for more key learnings coming out of this powerful session soon!

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