Warriors may passionately and openly hate their enemies, but it is not the hate for what is in front of them, but rather the love for who is behind them that inspires them to fight. If you’re reading this, you probably think for yourself, because you are actively working on improving yourself at this moment. Most likely no one told you that you must read this, so why are you reading it? It’s because you know that small actions stack up overtime, and that by absorbing new material you are becoming stronger and more capable of protecting the people you care about, the people you love.
Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is why so few people do it. Most people want to be told what to do, when to do it and for how long. These people certainly add value to the world, and to your business, but not nearly as much as those who think for themselves.
In my business, we write software from scratch. This takes a lot of dedication and hard work that requires heavy thinking to manage unexpected pitfalls and solve complicated problems. While it always takes a team effort to deliver a finished product, not everyone on the team is equally valuable, and their value to the company is directly tied to their ability to think for themselves. In civilized societies, everybody has an equal right to an opinion, but everybody’s opinion is not of equal value. I’m sharing four types of developers as I see them because this is my lived experience, and I believe there are strong parallels to your business as well.
First, the green pea. This is a new developer with stars in their eyes. They are excited to be building something with a team, but they are going to need their hand held. The green pea must be given projects with strict requirements as they will need to be told not only what to do, but also how to do it. They will screw up often because while they mean well, they are still learning along the way.
Next is the junior developer. This is a developer who will need to be told exactly what to do and will generally need to be shown how to do the work. However, a junior developer can complete their tasks with a low error rate as they have shown good proficiency in writing code. A junior will be able to solve simple problems that arise without any help as they are starting to be able to think for themselves, but they have not yet encountered the most complex problems. Attempts by juniors to solve problems they aren’t equipped for will typically create additional work from a senior to get the project back on track. It’s worth noting that a step backward for the project is a step forward for the junior that gets closer to becoming a more valuable senior developer.
Senior developers need to be told what to work on and must be given clear requirements, however a senior knows how to do the work. They will not need to be shown and they will be able to solve the most complex problems while still keeping the context of the overall goals of the project in mind. A senior is clearly more valuable to any software development company than a green pea, as the value of every team member is directly tied to their ability to think for themselves. Finally, a leader. A leader does not need to be told what to do. Every day our leaders ask themselves, “What can I do to strengthen our position?” As leaders, we get to discuss the big picture, our direction and our goals. We trust each other to delegate and do the work that we all agree is important. As leaders, we don’t get what we expect, we get what we inspect. Warrior leaders understand that the boat goes fast when everyone is rowing in unison and that this requires cooperation, agreement and accountability. If you think that you may have an unrecognized leader in your organization, you probably don’t. But if you want to be sure, ask them this: “What did you do today that strengthened our position?” And always remember, you can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you. Cheers.