“The moments when you are uncomfortable are the pivotal moments when you are either going to stretch yourself, learn, and grow, or you are going to recede.” – Dana Sherrell
In this episode, I interviewed Dana Sherrell, Vice President of Engineering at Boulevard and we talked about leading through influence as an engineering leader and how you can keep an engineering team on track when a company experiences rocket ship-like growth.
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Leading Through Influence:
- Being comfortable with being uncomfortable, having grit, and having the mindset of nobody has all the answers and we are all going to continue to grow can open many opportunities for you in your career.
- When you are put in a situation where you do not know how to react, you either retract from the situation or choose to follow through and work on solving the situation. Learn to dig your heels in further and continue trying if you find yourself in a situation that intimidates you. Leveraging and collaborating with other people will help you to continue moving forward. Grit does not mean that you will never give up. It means you will keep on going when things get tough and frustrating.
- There is a distinct difference between managers and leaders. People should strive to be leaders and not managers. Leaders are seen as mentors who provide credibility, a place of trust, and support, and are motivators and inspirers. Leading through influence means you are influencing other people to be the best that they can be, and influencing people brings about the ability to scale yourself and your teams to gain greater outcomes.
- It is easier to maintain strong company culture when you see people daily, in person, at the workplace. You must get creative when working remotely to ensure that everyone understands the company’s objectives. This can be done by ensuring everyone knows their mission in the company and how they impact the product and experience. Have open communication to ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them. It will give the people in your company an objective, purpose, and something to rally around. Apart from work projects, have some fun team-building events, like online escape rooms, that everyone can take part in and grow their relationships.
- Setting up teams who understand their identity and purpose drives focus and autonomy in your company. As the company grows, teams will experience getting new focus and charters that will slow their performance down until the changes have been absorbed. They can then continue to work as efficiently as before. All the changes can be overwhelming for new team members in the beginning. Building teams that will succeed through the changes is very important.
- You must know your team well enough to know which parts of a project are better suited for and excites each team member. Motivate each team member to participate in the parts of a project they dislike and explain to them why it is important. Ensure that everyone communicates in a way so that everyone’s perspective is considered. Make sure that everyone in the team understands their roles and what is expected from them. Use a career ladder of the core traits that your company values to let everyone know what the expectations are.