Programmers is a bridge between your development team and the other business units in your organization.

Lead Programmers”: Such an exciting word!

I guess every programmer worth his salt would want to become a lead programmer at some point in time. And I don’t blame them. It is the closest to what you can get to be a “god” of software.

So far, so good. But that brings us to a question.

Why do you want to become a lead programmer?

Is it an ego thing? Or perhaps, it is the fastest way possible to earn more money, get more powers, or even flaunt your shining aura of invincibility across your friends?

No, I am not questioning the reasons. The reasons are perfectly valid. It is OK to have a bit of ego thing going on. It is also OK to want to earn some money and get a few superpowers at work. You can also brag about your new role in front of your friends. After all, you deserve it.

Writing great code automatically makes you a great lead programmer-A senior developer’s immense experience in crafting expert code and designing great algorithms does not help him to get prepared for the highly unpredictable, thankless and ambiguous role of managing people. A lead programmer besides coding also requires skills of coaching, influencing, facilitating, motivation and delegating of work among the team.

A great lead programmer simply rewrites the “poor” code of his team members– The lead programmer can be the best programmer in the team but if he starts rewriting the suboptimal code of his team members, he is only setting up a recipe for disaster. The long-time solution is not writing the best code yourself but enabling others in the team so that they can write code as well as you can. This is what is called programmer empowerment.

A lead programmer only focuses on development — The difference between senior and lead programmers is their focus of attention. Senior programmers are “inward” focused on the development team and make sure that development tasks are addressed on time. Lead programmers, on the other hand, are “outward” focused and they bridge the gap between the development team and other business units in the organization. In short, lead programmers have a different mindset; instead of developing code, they focus on developing a usable and performant system that works.

And here are a few powerful habits of successful lead programmers.

1. Lead by knowledge

Christopher Pike nailed it when he said.

“A true teacher would never tell you what to do. But he would give you the knowledge with which you could decide what would be best for you to do.”

2. Lead by innovation

Steve Jobs always held innovation in the highest esteem when he said.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

They are the ideates and “out-of-the-box” thinkers. People approach them when they require advice in seeking a new direction and a different perspective.

They come up with ideas and innovations which not only become the talk of the organization but also act as huge disrupters within the industry. They come across as generally introvert but have a huge fan following in spite of that, across the organization.

Analyzing is nothing but doing “reality check” and showing the mirror without flinching and Max DePree gets it right when he says the following.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”

They are the devil’s advocates and excel in that role. People approach them when they need their solutions to be dissected minutely to find flaws, issues, and loopholes.

They not only guide the team in identifying and plugging in the gaps but also help them in visualizing their own solutions from a different angle. Their “fault-finding” attitude does not really make them the darling of the masses but in spite of that, everybody expects a “seal of approval” from them to go ahead.

4. Lead by conflict resolution

Hilda Solis brings out the most important quality of any leader when she says.

“My role was to bring about fairness in the workplace. All I did was implement the laws that were currently on the books.”

Dan Reiland nails it perfectly when he says.

“How can you have charisma? Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are making them feel good about you.”

The dictionary meaning of Charisma is “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. “.

6. Lead by empathy

In his book Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek proposes a concept of leadership that has little to do with authority, management acumen or even being in charge.

True leadership, Sinek says, is about empowering others to achieve things they didn’t think possible. Exceptional organizations, he says, “prioritize the well-being of their people and, in return, their people give everything they’ve got to protect and advance the well-being of one another and the organization.”

That is empathy in a nutshell. Empathy is all about finding echoes of another person in yourself.

They are great listeners and elegant communicators. People approach them to get that “soothing” feeling of relaxation and self-assurance. They are the ultimate stress busters.

7. Lead by problem-solving

There is an interesting statement made by detective Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s all-time famous book “Murder on the Orient Express.”

“As you yourself have said, what other explanation can there be?’

Poirot stared straight ahead of him. They constantly made it a lifelong endeavor to solve and conquer any problem, however tough it might be.

© 2022 RS ITHub

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