I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail

Category: Leadership Page 1 of 2

Photo by Marcus Cramer on Unsplash

How to Stay Calm Amidst a Crisis


Warning: DOMDocument::loadHTML(): Tag section invalid in Entity, line: 1 in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/benlobaughnet/public/blog/wp-content/plugins/auto-amazon-links/amazon.php on line 78

Warning: DOMDocument::loadHTML(): Tag section invalid in Entity, line: 9 in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/benlobaughnet/public/blog/wp-content/plugins/auto-amazon-links/amazon.php on line 78

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through a link I will receive a small commission from the seller, at no additional cost to you.


COVID-19 has thrown our world into crisis mode. A few weeks ago, most of us had never heard of a coronavirus, but today it is all we hear about. Our friends and family talk about it, and the media drones on incessantly, adding more fuel to the fear.

How do we combat that fear? How do we get back to a calm, cool, and collected existence?

Managing a crisis well comes down to where your focus is.

Your emotional state follows where your focus is.

A buddy, let’s call him Billy, and his wife have been on edge since the government’s social distancing guidelines came out. Their TV has been constantly on and fixed to various news channels. All they hear is doom and gloom. They are a younger couple, solidly in the age group that is less likely to be affected by the virus, and yet they are terrified to leave their house.

Meanwhile, across town I have another friend, let’s call him James. While taking precautions, James and his wife have largely continued about their life. While James’ wife is out taking care of family, James has been working hard, preparing their boat for a summer cruise. In the evening, after their dinner meal, they listen to the latest updates in the virus. Though they can cite the stats, and are in the most vulnerable age group, they are unafraid.

They are both experiencing the same crisis and choosing to approach it from different angles.

Though Billy is in the safer group, he focuses on the negative. The fear being hurled at him through the airwaves is a never-ending torrent, reinforcing his fear and blinding him to the good around him.

James, on the other hand, has chosen to stay informed on the crisis, but focuses his attention on the good things, his family, and the vacation they will soon be enjoying.

What you choose to focus on defines your state of mind.

Focus on the negative and fear will overwhelm you. Focus on the positive and you can still experience joy in the midst of a crisis.

That can be easier said than done though! Here are a few battle-tested tips that have helped me weather many storms and come out stronger on the other side.

Assess the situation

Pause to carefully assess the situation. How big is it really? How long is it likely to last?

In his book Vision Blockers, my friend and mentor, Eric Scroggins presents fear as the acronym:

False
Evidence
Appearing
Real

Fear often causes situations to seem much worse than they actually are.

Carefully monitor external influences

Our emotions are highly susceptible to outside influences. What is influencing you? Take control of external influences and be sure they do not have a negative impact on your life.

Tim Ferris, in his book The 4-Hour Work Week, writes about the negative effect that consuming too much news media can have on your mental health. He advocates for a dramatic reduction in intake. I was skeptical, but tried his method and noticed a quick uptick in mental well-being.

Trust yourself

Your skill and experience has not left you! You are still the same talented and intellectual person that you were before this crisis happened. Nothing can take that away from you.

When all else seems to be spinning out of control around you, trust in yourself.

Find the silver lining

I have often been told that I am a “silver lining guy”. Meaning that I can find something good in every situation, no matter how difficult that situation may seem. I carry that title with honor, as it has helped me, my teams, and my family carry on in some rather trying times.

Finding the silver lining provides hope and a promise that there is still good in the world.

If everything looks dark and no silver lining seems to be found don’t despair! I believe in you and would like to help you find that silver lining. Get in touch with me and let’s discover your silver lining together.

Photo by Marcus Cramer on Unsplash

Clara's First Birthday

What My One Year Old Teaches Us About Reaching Our Dreams

Today more than two dozen friends and family gathered from all across the United States and even across the international border to celebrate the first birthday of my beautiful little daughter Clara.

As I pause to reflect on this last year of my life I feel myself a bit overwhelmed. They say having a baby is a massive change in life, and it could not be any truer. A year and nine months ago, my wife and I were on a sailing trip to the San Juan Islands of Washington state. The two-week vacation was just what we needed after two intense years. Alix had just finished her master’s program, and I was working a soul-crushing job to support us.

During that sailing trip, we had time to decompress and talk our short and long term dreams. The trip also coincided with our anniversary. We brought a bottle of wine along to celebrate. My wife is an extremely lightweight drinker, even just two sips of wine and she’s a goner! I am not kidding, anybody who knows her will vouch for that! After hiking one of the gorgeous San Juan Islands, and taking an icy cold swim in Puget sound, we settled into the cockpit of our sailboat for the evening and popped open the bottle, to celebrate our anniversary. I had only a couple of glasses, but Alix finished the bottle herself!! It was usual, but we did not think too much of it at the time. A couple days later as we made our way home Alix laid inside the cabin for the entire seven-hour trip, with what I assumed was a slight case of seasickness. A few days later she asked me to get a pregnancy test. I thought she was joking, but multiple tests were positive!

This was not part of the plan! We wanted kids, but our dream was to be more established in my real estate investing, and her new teaching career.

Clara was born on April 20, 2019. A beautiful and healthy little bundle of joy.

Our plans had been derailed, but for the moment I did not care. Watching Clara’s change week by week has to be one of the most incredible things that I have ever seen in my life. After a few months, she tried to stand by pulling herself up using a support, but she fell right back on her rear. She fell a lot, but every time she got right back up for another attempt.

Her perseverance inspired me. She never admitted defeat! Failure was not an option.

Failure was not even in her vocabulary.

Over and over she would attempt to stand up and fall, then attempt to stand up again. To her, falling was a minor bump on the road toward achieving her goal of standing.

Clara got me thinking a lot about my life and the excuses I make when it does not seem like something is going as well as I wanted to.

I have mentored and coached many people, and I see this common thread amongst the most successful- they never give up. Falling down is just a speed bump in their journey. Those that do not pick themselves up are never able to gain momentum toward their dream.

John Maxwell has said that a steam locomotive without momentum cannot push through a brick wall, however, if that brick wall is simply in the path as it is steaming down the rails toward its destination, it will smash through it with only a minor shutter, and continue on toward its goal. I saw that lived out in front of me every day for the last year.

Sometimes our plans in life take years to come to fruition. I’ve been around long enough to see the cycle play out several times, but seeing my child developing new skills every week drove it home on a much more compressed timeline.

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”. Whatever your dreams are, you need to be setting your sights solidly on them and believe in yourself. Power up your steam locomotive and burst through those brick walls. You will encounter setbacks along the way, but they are only bumps along the journey to reaching your dream. I believe you have what it takes. I know you have what it takes. If you will simply grab on and pull yourself back up when you fall then you can achieve your dreams and more

Friends together on a dock

It Is Ok to Be Friends With Your Employees

New articles are constantly popping up in front of me. Good writers say a great title is what draws readers to your content, and they must be right because I scan for titles that match my interests every day. This title popped up recently, Your Employees Are Not Your Friends. I scoffed internally, and nearly scrolled past it, but then I stopped. Why not check it out? After all, personal growth is my goal- perhaps the author has an insight I have not thought of. I clicked the link.

The article, written by Lacy Starling, a serial entrepreneur, educator, and storyteller, is well thought out and written. While I still disagree with the premise that your employees cannot be your friends, I do agree with much of how she describes treating employees as a whole.

I believe that, when done carefully, you can and should be friends with your employees, because I believe in the power of relationships.

I believe in the power of relationships. 

After reading the article, I had a 1:1 with one of my employees. He happens to be someone I greatly respect, and I call him my friend. In fact, when I jumped between employers he followed me to the new company. When I asked if he considered me to be a friend, his emphatic response was YES!. Though I have been his boss for many years, we have never had an issue with the distinction between being friends and having an employer/employee relationship. As we discussed it, a few important points came up that, when done right, facilitate great friendships with your employees. However, if done poorly, it can spell disaster for your team, just as Lacy Starling experienced. 

Trust is Reciprocal

“The people when rightly and fully trusted will return the trust.” – Abraham Lincoln

With all employees, trust is a critical ingredient to the relationship. I have found that a trust relationship between employer and employee is best precipitated by the employer. You hired each individual for a purpose, extend trust to them by default and let them prove themselves unworthy of your trust. 

Operating from a starting place of trust makes you vulnerable. Employees have the choice to take advantage of the vulnerability and abuse the trust, or rise to the occasion and reciprocate. Through speaking with peers, and in my own experience, I have found it to be exceedingly rare that trust is abused. 

Do Not Play Favorites

I have never been the most athletic person in my circle of friends. When picking teams for gym sports in elementary school, I would watch all the athletic kids get picked before me. There were a few kids in school who the team captains always wanted, and they would rush to pick those kids first. It gutted me that I was never part of the favored group. At first, I pushed myself hard to be as good as the athletic kids, but after a while, I just gave up. It was not good for the morale of a young kid.

We are not kids anymore, but the sting of watching the boss play favorites with your coworkers is still there.

It is important, therefore, to be careful not to play favorites with your employees. As you build relationships, it will be natural to want to be with the employees you connect with the most. There are two simple ways to combat this: get to know everyone on your team, and do not spend time with only one or a few people. 

Getting to know everyone on your team keeps you from being locked in a bubble, where you only know a few of your employees. Ensuring you spend time with each of them will encourage a strong connection and reduce the possibility of forming cliques.

Treat Everyone Equally

My best friend and I played trumpet together in fifth grade. The trumpet section was arranged by chair. The lower the chair number, the higher the skill level of the player, or so the ranking was said to work. My friend and I were very competitive with each other and would spend hours practicing to win the coveted first chair, however, we were always baffled to be chairs seven and eight. We doubled down on the practice and stayed after class with our teacher to improve faster. We had a cleaner tone and missed fewer notes than those ahead of us, but no matter what we did, we never were able to break through that sixth chair barrier. Some time into the school year we learned the truth, the chairs ahead of us were reserved for students with a parent on the PTA. We were not all treated equally. It was not right.

I learned a valuable lesson while struggling through band class- everyone deserves to be treated equally. 

As you build relationships with your employees you must keep in sight equal treatment. It is not ethically, or legally, ok to treat some people on your team differently than others. 

Here are signs that you may not be treating everyone equally:

  • A particular employee is always getting easy projects.
  • An employee is called the “teacher’s pet”. This may be in jest, but even jokes may contain components of truth that others are hesitant to come out and say.

Be Careful with Your Authority

My suspicion is that this, more than the other points, is the most difficult to master. An employee’s natural response is to do what their employer says, and the employer naturally directs employees. That is ok and needed in the workplace, however, once you venture out of those four walls your authority as the employer must be considered with care.

Outside of the workplace, allow your employees to take the lead in social activities. Show them that you can follow just as easily as you can lead. 

Under no circumstances can you flex your authority or threaten consequences at work for actions outside of the workplace.

Do Not Talk About Work Outside of the Workplace

Another good rule of thumb is to not discuss work matters outside of the workplace. A discussion of work can quickly turn into work. It is not fair to steal time from your employees in this manner. This also reestablishes the employer/employee dynamic that you should seek to eliminate while outside the workplace.

After you have been working together for some time, it can become natural to reminisce and tell stories about the projects you have worked on together. This is ok, as long as you stick to past projects. Current projects should be largely off-limits as they can quickly become working sessions and reintroduce the employer/employee dynamic.

Remember Who is The Boss

As your friendship outside of the workplace grows, the lines between employer and employee can become blurred if not carefully tended. It is important that you remain vigilant to ensure this does not happen. To do this, expectations on employee interactions in the workplace should be applied equally and to everyone. 

If an employee crosses the line you must firmly and politely remind them of the workplace expectations. Most of the time, when expectations are clear, and communication is open, employees will willingly conform. If there are repeated violations, they may not yet be ready for friendship outside of the workplace. 

No matter how close you get to any individuals on your team, keep in mind that you are the leader and your team still needs a leader, not a buddy.

Your team still needs a leader, not a buddy

Expect More

In a prior team, I was very intentional about relationship building with my team. I knew intimate details of their lives, and we would talk both in and out of the workplace. I knew their families, dreams, and ambitions. The strength of our relationship allowed me to push the team harder toward their goals. My team outperformed every other team at the company, and not by a little. I learned after I had moved on that every member of my team had moved into a leadership role. I am proud of them. We speak often, to this day.

Being friends with an employee does not mean that they get the easy work, in fact, I would go so far as to say that notion should be flipped on its head entirely. I expect more of those with whom I am friends.

Being someone’s friend gives you a unique insight into their life; their hopes and dreams. You get privileged access to push them to be more.

Not Everyone Can Do It

Throughout this article, I have been an advocate for being friends with your employees. If, after reading this, you are feeling intimidated, that is OK! For me, being friends with my employees comes naturally, but it is not that way for everyone. I know some great leaders who struggle with the notion of being friends with their employees. In fact, the entire reason this article was written was to show another viewpoint from Lacy Starling, that it is possible to be friends with your employees. Lacy sounds like an amazing leader- if she struggles with it then there are others out there who do as well.

On the flip side, you may not have an issue with being friends with an employee, but they may struggle to be friends with you. That is OK! 

The beauty of leadership is that there is no one size fits all. You get to use your unique talents, and those of your employees, to do something great in this world. Do not force yourself to conform to someone else’s idea of what a leader should look like.

Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash

Bird leading flock in flight

11 Traits Leaders Must Role Model

Susan stood there eyeing the trash receptacles with disgust and trepidation. The dinner rush had been particularly busy that night and all six of the large trash cans were overflowing. Emptying the bins, with their soggy, putrid contents was the least desirable job at the fast-food restaurant- a job normally pawned off onto the most recently hired member of the crew. I was the manager on duty that night and saw Susan’s hesitance to approach the trash cans. I quickly put on a pair of gloves and walked out into the lobby to join her. Together we were able to quickly rid ourselves of the stinking piles of trash, and get a few laughs in along the way.

I have always studied those around me, and even as a teenager I had noticed that there are two types of people above you in the hierarchy: leaders and bosses.

A boss tells an employee what to do and walks away expecting them to do it. To a boss, it does not matter if the job is fun or not. You are the employee and expected to do your job, go do it.

A leader explains why a task is important and helps their team members get comfortable with the task. A leader is not afraid to get into the trenches with a member of their team, roll up their sleeves, and get into the dirty work.

A leader is a Role Model.

Your team is always watching you and will take on and amplify your characteristics, for better or worse. It is vitally important, therefore, to be a good role model for your team. Model the characteristics you would like to see in your team and your team will reflect them back to you.

The following are 11 characteristics of leaders I have studied, that I have found important to the success of my teams.

Inspire

Many of the day to day tasks we encounter while performing our jobs are mundane, some distasteful. Projects go sideways, and clients can be demanding, but it is our job as leaders to inspire our teams to keep moving forward.

A few years ago I was called in to help a project that was “on fire.” The client was a regional bank and the project manager from the bank had made their lives difficult. Team morale was at an all-time low. Nobody wanted to work on the project anymore, and even the fellow who was leading the project, normally a positive guy, had fallen into the negativity trap. I knew something had to happen, and quickly, or we risked losing the project, leaving a negative view of our company unresolved, and potentially losing team members from our own company. As I examined the state of the project I realized it was a lot closer to the finish line than either side realized. I was able to inspire the team to finish well by showing them how near to the goal they were, and why what they were doing was so vital to the success of the bank’s future.

You inspire people best by linking them to why what they do matters.

Anger

It is inevitable, we all get angry. We must understand how to control that anger, rather than let it control us.

My favorite leaders to work for have had an uncanny ability to channel their anger into something productive, often analyzing the situation and coming up with win-win solutions. Though I am far from perfect, I have found that staying calm when I just want to be angry has helped boost team effectiveness. My team even jokingly gave me a “smooth as a baby’s bottom” award for being cool under pressure!

Make a plan now as to how you will handle situations that anger you in the future

Do not wait, make a plan now as to how you will handle situations that anger you in the future. Proactive planning will help you understand and manage situations properly when they arise.

Project positivity

It is easy to be positive in the good times, but if you are not alert to it, negativity can quickly creep in. Negativity is one of the fastest ways to destroy your team. Be ever vigilant and guard against its encroachment in your team.

Staying positive when things are gloomy can be a difficult endeavor. I have been accused of being a “silver lining guy”, meaning that I can find good in any situation. I highly recommend that you also become a person who is constantly looking for silver linings.

Find the positive and use it to inspire those around you. I promise you, there is always a silver lining to every dark cloud!

Look at them when you converse

Looking at someone when they speak to you, or you to them, sends a powerful message. It says that you care about what they are saying. It says they are valuable and worth the time. Looking at your computer, checking your phone, etc sends a message that they do not matter to you.

Quite often I come across articles saying you should look them in the eye. I have specifically refrained from saying, “the eye” because there are many people who are uncomfortable with extended eye contact. Particularly, eye contact with their boss can be intimidating. You will need to discover each person’s preferred communication style and adjust accordingly. If they like eye contact then, by all means, make eye contact! For those that do not, ask them how they prefer to be communicated with.

Looking at the person you are speaking too communicates that you value them.

Be clear about what you stand for

When your people know what you stand for, they will put more trust in you. A consistent leader is a safe leader.

I try to let my team know what I expect upfront. When potential team members are being interviewed I make it a point to explain the culture of the team and organization. My expectations are clearly made known so the interviewee and I can establish a good fit for the position.

Know and make known what you stand for.

Help with the dirty work

I see many people in leadership positions out there who refuse to do menial work. Those tasks are pushed off to the junior members of the team. This fosters a negative attitude toward those tasks that the entire team will tap into. In the end, with everyone trying to get rid of the task, it will be done poorly. On the opposite side are leaders who are not afraid to get down into the trenches with their people. No task is too small or menial for them. That kind of a leader inspires pride in the team’s work, and will cause team effectiveness to go up.

While in training as a manager at a fast-food restaurant, I noticed that the other closing management staff had a particular struggle with getting the fry bins cleaned. Each evening, after the restaurant closed, a team member had to disassemble the fry station by pulling out the dividers, the drip grate, and removing the oil catch pan. Each piece had to be cleaned and disinfected before it could be put back. It was a nasty, slippery, gooey job that nobody wanted to do, but it had to get done. Other managers hid in the office and threatened write-ups to the crew. It was tough to watch. I knew there had to be a better way. During my first shift as “the boss”, I rolled up my sleeves and tackled the fry bins, then I mopped the floor and closed the registers. Only after the dreaded tasks were done did I sit down in the office to fill out the daily reports. After only a couple weeks of doing this every night there, was a shift in my crew. They understood that I was not too good for the small things and that mindset became contagious. They would race to see who could get the fry bins cleaned out the quickest!

You will not always be doing the dirty work. As the team sees that you will not ask of them anything you would not do yourself they will begin to take ownership of the tasks and allow you to step away.

Do not ask anything from your team that you would not do yourself.

Genuinely care about them as a person

People are not robots, they have dreams and emotions. Humans are designed to be connected. Your team is no different. Your people will watch you to see if you truly care about them as a person, or if you see them as a means to an end.

Here are a few things you can do to show your team you genuinely care about them as individuals:

  • 1:1s that are driven by them. Schedule regular 1:1s and hold that time as sacred. It is the perfect time to check-in and see how they are doing. Find out about their family and hobbies.
  • Give them easy access to you. One easy way I do this is via our internal chat tool. It is a fabulous way not only to be available to them, but the chat history will help you easily call up details from prior conversations.
  • Send thank-you notes. I try to do this quarterly.
  • Privately message them each day to check-in. This has enabled some great conversations with my team. Unlocked new ideas for the business and enabled personal learning as well.

Be relatable

People follow leaders they can relate to. The things you relate to do not need to be work-focused. There are several people on my team with kids, and of them, I am the newest parent. My wife and I waited later to have kids, and the rest of the team with older kids enjoy seeing my 11 month old daughter and sharing their parenting tips. It has created a strong relationship between us.

Do not be afraid to ask dumb questions

The fact of the matter is that none of us enjoy being out of the loop, or not understanding all the details of a project. The reality is that more often than not, we leaders will not know everything about the inner working and construction of a project. That is ok! Your job as a leader is not to know everything, it is to lead!

Your job as a leader is not to know everything, it is to lead!

Do not be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem like dumb questions. Your team will value your transparency. It is easy to spot someone faking knowledge. Your team will rise to the occasion and educate you. Most people seem to enjoy it when their boss asks a question because it is an opportunity to show off their deep knowledge of a subject.

In all my time leading, only twice has an individual reacted negatively to my questions. However, that person was not a team player and had a reputation as a bully. That kind of behavior is not to be tolerated. They need to ship up or ship out!

Do not try to be the best

There may have been a time when you were the best. When I was younger, I was a voracious programmer. I could run circles around many of my peers. The solutions I came up with were often more elegant and had better performance than my teammates. I was on the top of the pile. That was many years ago though. Since then I have focused on becoming the best leader I can be. Paving the way for my team’s success does not leave much time for programming. I had to accept the fact long ago that every individual of my team can now run circles around me, and that is ok.

John C. Maxwell often repeats the phrase, “You have to give up to go up.” Meaning, to move into leadership, you will have to give up some of the activities you used to do. You will no longer be able to be the best at X because you will be focused on Y. Being the best at X means you are not spending time taking care of your team. When I feel dismayed that I am no longer the best, I remember that before I led I could do a single unit of work for every hour I worked. As a leader, each hour I can accomplish N units of work, where N is the number of people on the team. Now my role, and yours too, is not being the best at X, but being the best leader for your team.

Get comfortable not always being liked

I like to be liked. The first time I had a team member who did not like me, it hit me like a piano falling off a 5 story balcony. It hurt, but I had to get comfortable with it. You can spend every minute of your day trying to be liked, but there will always be times when someone just does take a fancy to you. Take a deep breath, it is ok. Your job is not to be universally liked, your job is to lead the team to the best of your ability. Get comfortable not always being liked.

Being a leader is tough! I want to save you the heartache of learning through the school of hard-knocks as I did. If you could use a hand in your leadership journey, head over to https://benlobaugh.com and drop me a line. I help leaders grow through mentoring and coaching. Let me know how I can help you today.

Motivational Checklist Cup

How to help employees gain confidence in their work

I had recently moved from another organization to serve as the Director of Engineering at a rapidly growing startup. The founders brought me in to rebuild the corporate culture, grow and develop a cohesive team, and implement policies that would help us thrive. No doubt entered my mind as to my ability to craft a powerhouse of a department, I had done it many times before on teams with widely ranging skillsets, but here I was the outsider coming in to be “the boss”. I had to win over the team before anything could be accomplished.

The early days were spent getting to know the team and their current processes, which were loosely defined at best, if not completely absent. As a software engineering team that deals with code responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars, it is imperative that code is of the highest quality and error-free. In my experience, peer-based code reviews win out, hands down, over a single engineer reviewing code. The velocity of team skill growth is explosive!

I pitched my new vision of peer code reviews to the team and it was received favorably. I believe that as a leader I should not ask anything of my team that I would not be willing to do myself, so I rolled up my sleeves and hopped into a project with a few waiting code reviews. A good deal of time was spent modeling what a good code review looks like. I was proud of the example I had set (indeed that is how we review to this day!) and merrily submitted the feedback.

During the project stand up the next morning it seemed as if all hell had broken loose. The dev whos code I had reviewed accused me of micromanaging, and several other things not appropriate in polite company. In the end, he told me, in front of the whole team, that my code review made him feel like a “sh*t coder” and we needed to stop them immediately.

I was flabbergasted. This dev had been with the company for a long time and had a strong influence on the other developers. Without his support, I knew the peer code review process was doomed to failure. I had to get him on my side.

After spending some time in thought I pulled the developer aside privately. After validating his feeling on the matter (always important!) I put on my coaching hat and sought to draw out of him the real cause of the outburst. As it turned out, he had a severe case of imposter syndrome. Common amongst developers, it causes them to overlook how skilled they truly are and not have confidence in their abilities.

This developer needed a confidence boost.

At various points in my career, I have experienced imposter syndrome as well, and I bet you have too. From watching great leaders I put together the following three steps that have never failed to bring up a person’s confidence!

Show them the way

Lack of confidence often comes from a lack of knowledge. Pointing out a person’s lack of knowledge will only cause them to become defensive. You must create a positive environment for them to learn and be shaped in. Spend some time letting them follow you around and see how you do it. Explain how you think through a problem and find a solution. This route safely opens the door to the absolute basics, without the person feeling insecure or inadequate in their existing knowledge.

Help them along the way

After they have followed you around they will be ready to attempt to tackle a problem with you by their side. It is crucial at this stage not to leave them. If you step away not they may feel abandoned or falter. Either scenario has the potential to lock them into a shell that will be difficult to draw them back out from. Be with them during this time as a coach and guide. Allow them to lean on your knowledge and experience while they learn to do it for themselves.

Send them on their way

Once they are able to confidently perform tasks with you by their side they are ready for the next step, which is for you to step away and allow them a free hand solving problems themselves. This does not mean they are abandoned and left entirely to their own devices. You still need to make yourself available for guidance and coaching, however, instead of standing next to them, they will come to you.

Successfully working someone through all three of these phases takes time and dedication. All of the software engineers I have taken through this process are excelling at their jobs. I am very proud to look at members of prior teams and see them leading their own teams based on the principles I imparted to them. I fondly recall one guy who was placed on my team and had imposter syndrome so bad that it took him weeks to speak up in a casual team meeting. Within a year he was spearheading internal initiatives and confidently working cross-team to support our clients. What a change!

Internalize this three-step method to build confidence in any member of your team and watch them grow today!

  • Show them the way
  • Help them along the way
  • Send them on their way

As a 20+ year veteran in the web software development world, I know it can be an intimidating place. I am here for you! If you would like to chat with me, or are interested in mentorship, head on over to my contact form at https://benlobaugh.com/contact and drop me a line.

Photo by Jose Silva from Burst

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Beards