How to Be an Awesome πŸ™Œ Tech Lead

⚠️ Warning! ⚠️
This post is deliberately written as satire. If you are unfamiliar with the concepts of dark humor or sarcasm, this article might not be for you.


Are you starting a new job as a tech lead or are you already in such a position and you want to find out how to excel at your job?

Well, then this post is exactly for you.

I have compiled a list of the most important things you should know. All this knowledge I have acquired over many years as a tech lead myself. I so very much hope it will help your career too. So without further ado, here we go:

1. Control Information

This very first piece of advice is a very important one for multiple reasons.

It is paramount that you control the flow of information in your team. People can get easily distracted and this is something you definitely don't want to happen. You want them focused on their tasks.

Another aspect of information control is that it will reinforce your position of power right from the start. Because knowledge is power.

import { needToKnow } from 'permissions';
import { information, team } from 'company';

const censored = information.filter(needToKnow);
team.inform(censored);

2. Delegate Hard Tasks

Never take on really hard tasks by yourself. Maybe you like the challenge but think about the following scenario:

There is an important task that you want to tackle. Unfortunately, you fail to complete it. Your team would immediately lose respect for you. Your reputation would take a hard hit.

In order to prevent this from ever happening, always always always hand out complex tasks to your team. You can always take over the task once you see there has been good progress on it and the risk is low for failure.

try {
  while (task.completion < 1) {
    team.process(task);

    if (task.completion > 0.95) {
      me.takeOver(task);
      break;
    }
  }
} catch (failure) {
  blame(team);
}

3. Take Credit

It is only fair. After all, you have the responsibility if something fails, so why shouldn't you profit from successful task completions.

Furthermore, as the most important member of your team, it is a given that you should take credit for success. It is because of you, the team was able to succeed.

if (job.isSuccessful) {
  reward(me);
} else {
  const blame = await boss.getReaction();
  team.forward(
    double(blame)
  );
}

4. Competition

Over the years I developed over and over new concepts to foster performance. As people love to compete in almost any discipline, this idea came naturally to me:

Let your team members compete over the same task to find out which one is the better developer.

Promise.race([worker1, worker2]).then(job => {
  // Profit
});

It guarantees you that the task will be completed faster as planned as you doubled your success chances.

Additionally, the nature of competing with others has an incredible effect on performance.

In some cases, you might even consider throwing in a third competitor into the race, but be mindful of your resources. It really depends on the size of your team. You definitely don't want to block your team for other tasks. The balance is in your hands and with time, you will develop a good gut feeling for that.

So nice

5. Hierarchy

For thousands of years, our civilization was built on hierarchy. Why would you want to be friends with your workers? Trust me, managing friends is way harder than managing workers.

Don't fall into the trap of befriending your team members. Make it clear right from the start what separates you from them. It will help to establish a healthy and professional relationship.

Your workers have to respect you as an authority. This is the only way for things to work in your favor.

If someone challenges you or your ideas, make sure to remind the person of its position in the hierarchy. And do so fast, as you don't want a mutiny to start.

6. Shouting Helps

This extremely helpful technique does wonders for your team. Shouting at your workers from time to time embeds a strong understanding of the bespoke hierarchy.

Just keep in mind not to overuse this tactic as it, unfortunately, loses its power over time. The science is quite clear on that.

In my experience a good 2 to 5 minutes session of shouting per week is optimal. You can split it up into 2 to 3 shorter sessions per week as well. Keep it random.

Shouting boss

For motivational purposes, you should definitely have a session where you shout at the whole team at least once every month. This will foster motivation even further.

Try and mix it up. As always, your mileage may vary.

7. Be Friends With HR

This one can be an absolute lifesaver. It doesn't really matter how you do it, just find a way to be friends with the HR department. Either send flowers, buy them tickets for events or invite them over to your next barbeque party at home - there are many options.

Because when the day comes when one of your workers wants to report you (for some reason) to HR, you will know they have your back.

try {
  throw new Complaint()
} catch (complaint) {
  // ignore
}

8. Remember, It Is About You

When your team succeeds, everyone is looking at you. When your team fails, everyone is looking at you. Keep that in mind.

You want to make sure to review your general strategy from time to time and make the necessary adjustments. Sometimes it can be helpful to remove the offending element from your team.

Me

Always keep an eye on your track record. You don't want any team member to ruin your career, do you?

Bonus Tip: Spyware

If you want to go the extra mile, here's a pro-tip that will catapult you into the champions league.

By installing spyware on your worker's machines and phones you will be always 5 steps ahead of them. Just be careful with this approach, it's not quite legal apparently. Or so I've heard.


How to Implement

As you can see, with a little bit of effort you can bring your team to the next level.

It makes sense to start with 1 or 2 methods and gradually add the other techniques over time. When it comes to new hires, it is advised to apply more methods right from the beginning. Don't miss out on such opportunities.


Closing Words

Now in all seriousness, as imaginary as it may sound, people with such a mindset, do really exist.

This is not exclusive to the tech industry only. There are many team leaders, department managers, directors, C-level managers, and CEOs that behave and act as described above. We all have met them in our careers.

If you are in a position of leading a team of people, or if you are about to get your own team in the soon future, let me give you the following advice:

Treat the people in your team like your biggest asset, because they are. It's not the office, it's not the hardware, it's not the business plan. It's your team above all. πŸ™Œ

Imagine having a boss as I described before. Would you like to work for such a company? I don't think so.
I know, sometimes the pressure from the management can be quite strong and you might unwillingly forward that down the line.

It's important to look sometimes into the mirror and check if you still are a person you would love to work for.

You might as well be in charge of a bigger department with many teams in it. What applies to you should apply to your team leaders in the same way. Make sure you keep an open dialog with them and see how they manage their teams. Frustration can sometimes lead to bad decisions. Mentor your team leaders, help them if they struggle. Leading a team is not always easy after all.

To build a truly awesome team, work on these: πŸ‘‡
βœ… Keep an open culture
βœ… Be helpful
βœ… Take responsibility
βœ… Listen to ideas
βœ… Share knowledge
βœ… Communicate
βœ… Accept feedback
βœ… Be kind

Happy team

Tawanda Nyahuye's photo

Dark humor, I'm a big fan. Nice article Chris

Chris Kalmar's photo

Thank u, Tawanda 😊

Dallas Spohn's photo

This was an enlightening read. Thumbs up! Going to share with my team.

Chris Kalmar's photo

Thank u so much, Dallas πŸ™Œ