If at any point while you read this post, you disagree with any of my statements, go ahead and click the “Leave a Comment” link. Express yourself!
While the original title of my post was “Why most software development managers need a leadership coach”, I changed it to “Why most managers need a leadership coach” because the situation I have witnessed in the software development industry is also present in many others specialized fields of expertise – at least that’s what many of the people I speak with confirm. Nonetheless, in order not to generalize my assumptions (yet!), I will share my assessment of the people management and leadership capabilities within the software development industry. Let’s begin…
Are you familiar with such problems?
- Unhappy employees leads to high turnover
- Communication challenges
- Employees fail to deliver on their commitment
- People who fail to deliver what they promise
- How To Deal With Problem Staff And Poor Performance
These are only a handful of typical problems encountered by a manager and for most experienced managers, they may sound trivial. Considering that new leaders are not born with management abilities, how can we expect them to be successful in their role?
People managers lack the basic skills
Here’s why I believe most software development managers (and many others) need coaching to become successful in their role (and apparently, I am not the only one who believes this is a valid suggestion). My logic goes as follows:
- Managers – including software development managers – are people;
- There are 2 ways to become successful at something. Either you learn through education or you possess above average intuition and intelligence and can figure out how things need to be done;
- Most software development managers have a technical training /education (examples can be seen here, here, here, and here);
- In addition to their education background, most software development managers mostly played technical roles (software developers, business analysts, application architect, etc.) in their career prior to getting promoted to a management position;
- Most people management positions are complex and require knowledge and experience outside of technology such as Business, Leadership, People Management, Organizational Development, or Psychology;
- Very few people in people management positions have all the requirements (see previous bullet);
- Without prior education and experience outside the software development sector, most managers are ill-equipped to successfully perform in their role.
Coaching is a solution
With an average salary1 of $85,000 to $125,000 depending on the number of years of experience and location, why wouldn’t an organization invest a few thousands of dollars to hire a coach in order to help develop the people management and leadership abilities? Despite the economic downturn, I still see organizations spend thousands of dollars on training or conferences. Although I don’t argue the value of such events, I doubt they support the development of people management and leadership abilities.
It seems to me that we need to help those in management position succeed. Otherwise, the performance of the entire team will suffer.
Others seem to agree with this new trend…