Lessons From Quirky Software Development Managers: Page 2

Do you code applications for "The Jerk" or the "hovering micromanager"? There are ways to improve these work relationships.


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Kevin also liked to take the team out to bars and pick up the tab. Even invited us to his house many times to hang out.

Then one day, the hammer came down. Kevin called a team meeting and started to scream and yell. Quality was way down, resulting in an escalation in the number of production beeper calls. But the team simply didn’t take him seriously and blamed him for his lackadaisical approach.

First, managers should realize that it is okay to be friendly with their team, but don’t go overboard. Second, maybe in the army and fraternities screaming works fine, but I’ll go out on a limb and state that it never solved a problem in a professional place of work.

Was he right about the quality slipping? Absolutely. However, a better approach would have been to ask the team to analyze the reasons for the slippage and come up with ideas on how to stem the decline of quality.

Knee jerk reactions are just a bad idea. Analyzing and better planning and execution would have improved results.

4. The Quirky Genius

– These are the managers who have been promoted because they are simply the smartest in the room. They know everything about everything, down to the smallest detail. But their people skills may have a few issues.

Todd could take a part a car engine and put it back together again. He also knew everything there was to know about client server programming. Todd could spend a day at a client site analyzing their code and know their whole system design by close of business.

Problem was, Todd expected his team to be able to do the same things he could do. When we didn’t, he got frustrated.

And he was the opposite of “The Buddy” because he couldn’t relate well to the team outside of work. He knew nothing about pop culture or current events – he didn’t have a TV and didn’t read the paper. He just read manuals.

This combination led Todd to have a lousy relationship with his team. He delegated few important tasks, preferring to do too much himself. He didn’t communicate assignments at the level necessary for the junior team members. This caused project delays that could have been avoided if Todd would have taken the time to get to know his team members’ interests and capabilities.

All of these managers had their good points. It may be hard to believe, but yours probably do as well. If your manager can’t communicate well, you might consider taking the responsibility and making the effort to build a line of communication with them. Do it not only for the good of the team but to improve your quality of work life. It won’t help anyone to just gossip with your co-workers about your dysfunctional, clueless manager.

And if you must, simply bone up on your music history and be prepared to name that tune in six notes!

ALSO SEE: That Developer's Salary is Bigger than Mine!

AND: Are Developer Workloads Increasingly Unfair?


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