AppForce1: news and info for iOS app developers

Twitter Space: Everyday Leadership as a software developer

February 11, 2022 Jeroen Leenarts
AppForce1: news and info for iOS app developers
Twitter Space: Everyday Leadership as a software developer
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We dive into some of the content of the book by Jeroen. Jeroen wrote a book with the title “Being a Lead Developer”. But many of the practices in his book also apply to developers in individual contributer roles. Listen in and take some practical advice you could start using right after the discussion.If you have questions, please reach out to Jeroen or Stefan on Twitter.

Dev Interrupted
What the smartest minds in engineering are thinking about, working on and investing in.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Runway
Put your mobile releases on autopilot and keep the whole team in sync throughout. More info on runway.team

Lead Software Developer 
Learn best practices for being a great lead software developer.

Support the show

Please rate me on Apple Podcasts.

Send me feedback on SpeakPipe
Or contact me through twitter or Mastodon: @appforce1@mastodon.cloud

Buy me a Coffee or become a member of my podcast.

My book: Being a Lead Software Developer

Jeroen Leenarts:

The topic of the Twitter space today is his leadership as a developer. And we specifically wanted to make sure that this topic is not strictly constrained to how you lead a team of software developers, because that's very specific. And that's not something that's very applicable to everybody into the developer ecosystem. And we want to broaden it out a little bit. So that there's some practical things that as a listener, you can do, right, like immediately tomorrow to, to bolster your own leadership skills to train yourself in behaviors that allow you to, to get familiar with leadership, and that also immediately have the effect of you showcasing your leadership. So that you first of all, you have a personal benefit out of it. And second of all, by showcasing specific behavior, enjoyable behavior, if I might add, it will also be a good impulse to your surroundings, and potentially your career in the long run. So that's quite a lot by two to take in in one go. So very true. So let's just start eating right.

Stefan Blos:

Like, one thing I want to I want to add here is I think we have a pretty nice combo here, because you are the more experienced person in that realm. And I think, like, from my perspective, it can be interesting to see what what someone who does not have practical experience in this in this leadership role directly, can still add to the topic, because I think even if you're not in the, in the lead developer role, you still are in many situations where leadership is very important, right? So it's going to be also interesting to have this, this combination of perspectives here.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So just to, to flesh out these details. I personally, I worked for a little over three years as a software developer at a big insurance company in specifically developer role. And I was leading a team of nine iOS developers on a technical level. And before that, I did years of consultancy and in different capacities I, I let multiple people on several occasions. So yeah, some experience there. But especially those three years that I was, according to my feelings thrown into the deep end, that was really where I learned a lot of things about like, through lead development type behaviors and things that you can do there. But in hindsight, I also concluded that there's many more opportunities that you can actually display leadership, because yeah, we'll go into that a little bit more. And, Stefan, can you tell a little bit about your outlook and state of experience in this area?

Stefan Blos:

Sure. I think I don't have this, this clear role of elite position in my in my professional history there. For one thing, it's pretty, pretty interesting. In my previous company I was working for before I started working at stream, I, we had this concept of mentorship in the company. And people could choose their own mentors for not only their team, or from not only from their team, but also from other teams and other departments of the company as well. So I was the mentor there for some of the junior developers. And I think this is where it already was really interesting to see what juniors are beginners, we're really expecting from that. Because, like, the most interesting thing for me was that basically, they had no idea what to expect. And it's an interesting, interesting situation to be in. Because even when you're not that experienced, you still want to be like a good, a good leader, or a good, a good, a good role model for the for the younger people or the younger, or the less experienced ones. So I think that's also an interesting thing to have when there's no clear expectations, and you still want to be good at what you're doing.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Okay, yeah, sounds good. So just to kick things off, I'm going to read like a short section from a book that I read, and I'm going to add let the content a little bit so that it's very much applicable to the situation and the goal of this Twitter space. So yeah, actually have a book written on this specifically developed topic, you can check it out on my Twitter bio. But so what I think, as a software developer leadership is, is that it has nothing to do with seniority, smartness, or any other measure of heart skill of an individual. So to me, you display leadership as a software developer, but being just one of the team. And sometimes you have some extra tasks, or you have a big responsibility to watch your peers or the company that you work for. But if you display leadership, I think what you tried to do is to be an example for your peers, both in your behavior and your skills. This also could mean that you're not you should not be ashamed to admit if you're not qualified for certain tasks. If you think someone else is better suited for a task, or is really dying to get their hands on this specific task. If you display true leadership, you step aside and assist this person, whenever that's required or requested. As a, what I also think is leadership is that you make sure that the people around you are able to grow both as individuals, but also but also together as a team. And this mostly involves listening to people. And by listening, you can get to some details on what people are struggling with something. And it's very funny, the more you listen to somebody, the less you actually have to do to support them, because they figure it out themselves just by expressing their thoughts and having somebody that actually intensively listens to them. Also, leadership is that you make hard decisions when they are needed. And also you want to support the business that you work for, by selecting and hiring people on your team. And that independent view of the future of the team, when of your personal biases and tendencies, because I know, as a software developer, myself, I have quite a lot of specific peculiarities on technology and stuff, I find interesting and personal biases, and it's really hard to step over them, and to just leave them as they are, and really discuss the challenge and the topics that are at hand. And what I also think that is really important if you want to display true leadership, that is that you you have to stand tall, when it is needed to protect yourself, but also the team around you. And both in sanity, but also, when things get a little bit crazy, you know, deadlines pressure. So there's also some tension between executing good software development and the pressure to deliver actual business value. And being well grounded in this regard that you push back on delivering the business value when needed, because the quality of the software is important. But you also are able to sometimes make decision, okay, sometimes good enough is good enough. And it's now more important to deliver the value. And those are just some aspects of leadership and software development that I think you could focus on. And there are some practical things that you can actually do to make sure that you are able to perform of some of these things. Any questions so far? Stefan?

Stefan Blos:

I was listening in all, I think you mentioned like a lot of a lot of very, very important and very interesting points. I think one of the most interesting ones is that you continually try to emphasize the point that it doesn't mean like you're hierarchically above other people. But basically, everyone's on the same level. And you're trying your best to support everyone right? To be able to get that point, correct.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah, basically, if you, if you condense down to one sentence, the one thing that if you want to display through leadership, that is to just keep on reminding yourself that, especially in the business sense that you keep reminding yourself, it's not about me, it's not about me, it's about whatever is the thing that is important on that day. So if it's delivering value, or delivering features, or making sure that your colleague doesn't go crazy, because of whatever is happening in this person's personal life. It's just keeping on reminding yourself, okay, it's not about me, because even if you look at simple things, why are you doing this job? Is that because you just want to be able to have some fun or do you want to provide for maybe a family that you're that you're supporting? Or just things like that? And if you're if you're in a situation, and you really ask yourself, Okay, what is this situation about? Most often you can just figure things out quite easily and Just saying to yourself, it's not about me, and then start thinking again that that's usually a very good, simple reminder to, to do in many cases.

Stefan Blos:

That sounds really great. And I think, like, from a personal perspective, I think I've been very lucky because for me, I didn't have the situation to be in this toxic work environment where people have really big egos and, and show that off. And I think it's really refreshing to have this great environment of people not not thinking about themselves too much. Yeah. And basically saying, Okay, it's not about me, exactly, as you mentioned. And I think this provides a really great, great working environment, to not only have a safe environment for everybody, not to also allow everyone in the team to grow, right. Yeah.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So but what what creates a safe work environment, and according to you,

Stefan Blos:

I think it's allowing people to make mistakes, because I think it's important to note that mistakes will happen every time. So people will make mistakes. But it's a lot about how you handle those. Because when people are scared to make mistakes, because they know they will be punished for that, or like, people will think bad of them. That will lead to them not taking any risks or not not learning a lot. But if you have this, this culture of I know can make mistakes, as long as I learned from them and get better from that. I think this is really a place where everyone should feel comfortable. And also feel free to to learn and evolve and pick up four topics they will sync are important or that matter.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So but what what do you think would work better in situations like that? That as an individual, you if you make a mistake that you that you try and hide it? Or that you share it with somebody who could help you out? You know, are you then able to ask for help? Or what do you think that works better than

Stefan Blos:

or in my opinion, you should always be be honest about that, and bring everything to the table. And I think in situations like this, it really shows what type of environment, the team you're working on. Like has, because this is this is the point where also, I think it's important as someone in a leadership role, to not be to not see the negative there, but also always to focus on the positive that comes out of it's all a learning experience. And to see that someone has made a mistake, but they will be be better in the next situation and always do their best to improve from their own.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Okay. And other aspects that are important for a safe working environment. Do you think?

Stefan Blos:

I mean, you you've mentioned quite a bit right, in your in the park from your pokeo you quoted. I think it's, I think it's always about how people are approaching their work. And I think when there's, there's a willingness to, to always improve and to get better, and to learn from everything. I think this also really is great, great aspect of, of, of a safe environment. What do you think? Do you have any, any more things you could think of that fosters this, this type of environment?

Jeroen Leenarts:

What you mentioned already are some good ones, too. So that's what I call what he wants. So if you want to see certain behavior in your environment, then you have to showcase that behavior. So that's being an example of what you appreciate. So if you if you'd like people to be open about things they run into, then be open about things you run into yourself. If you want people to ask questions, then be the first one to ask questions on, on specific topics. And it's always also the style of how you ask a question is also very important. But what's also I think, very much underappreciated, especially in software developers because it's such an engineering discipline, you know, it's something works or it doesn't. What else the thing is very important is that you listen to people and it's, it's something I had to learn over the years and in my personal life, I'm I'm very much not good at it at all. But in my professional life, I've more or less been able to get a little bit better at it, and just listening to people because if you just listen to somebody, they will start telling you more they still they still start telling you more things that are that affect them, instead of that they're trying to please, whatever you as a recipient of their methods might want in their heads. So and yeah, just one of the biggest practical tips that I can give, because I want to get practical as well as in this space. In regards to listening, it's in any conversation, you should not be afraid, if there's silence, and what people tend to do, if somebody shuts up at the other side of the table, then people start just blabbering. And they start making noise in the sense that okay, for some reason, it feels uncomfortable for people if there is a silence in a room. But what I've noticed that quite often is that if you are comfortable yourself in being silent, sometimes it's very functional to just sit there, stay silent. give somebody the opportunity to basically collect their thoughts and continue on what they are trying to tell you. And if they then if you see them struggling, then ask a question and make sure that the question is open ended so that you're not leading their cognitive process, but that you're actually helping them with some handrails on on continuing their their thinking and expressing their thoughts. So just shutting up, that's, that's one of the best things that you can do in any conversation is just keep your mouth shut. And it is very hard for people that's it's even hard for me after time. But it is something that is very important.

Stefan Blos:

But it's definitely something I also noticed, the shutting up is always good part. Because I think most of the time when when you want to help someone come to a solution for a certain problem, it's always more powerful. If they will find a way themselves, instead of you pointing them into this, this or that direction. So if they, if they can, can come up with a solution on their own. And maybe you will only slightly slightly with give them a direction that they could go in. But they figure out the rest for themselves. This is always a way more powerful way to find solutions. And that will also stick to the people more. So I think that's that's really really valuable and great advice. Yeah,

Jeroen Leenarts:

yeah. Shabbat bada some things that you that you can do to improve your day to day work in taking charge of your own day and making sure that that you deliver what people want, but also that you're able to. Yeah, basically show some leadership in your personal work, what are some things that you think would work there?

Stefan Blos:

I think one of the things you already mentioned and that we just talked about this, this part of being silent and listening, what people are doing, and the problems they might be having. And also, you also mentioned that, but asking questions, which is a little bit counterintuitive, but we just mentioned that being cited is a very important, but I think asking the right questions is also a great thing. Because because, especially in this when you want to take this leadership role, I think it's always a great thing to keep asking people questions. And as you mentioned, the type of questions very important, because if you ask someone, like for example, if you ask someone, did you have a good day? And they can say yes, or they can say no.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Don't ask. Don't ask that question to a Dutch person, because you will you will get you will get to work you will hear the entire day.

Stefan Blos:

Okay, yeah, but I mean, the difference would be like to ask an open question like, how was your day? What what did you do today? Something like that, I think is always a greater way to, to ask people, how they feel, how their work has been, which problems set it in cage, because it allows them to be more open. And it invites them to communicate clearly what they think tempt, but this shows that you want to really, that you're really really interested in that and you will get way more out of that. Closed questions.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So let's let's deepen that a little bit. Because for example, you come up to somebody could be online on some zoom call or whatever platform that you're using, or it could be in person, you walk up to somebody's desk. And the moment this person turns their head to watch you, you say how are you doing? How was your day? Or would it work better? That's if you approach them, that you then while you're approaching them or when you get a visual of them, that you first of all, you say, hi, your greeting, but then make sure that you have a quick look on what's happening around him what's on the screen, if you can see it? Or what's on the desk? Or how are they looking? What's their expression? And if you see somebody who looks a bit worn out that you can say, Hey, man, or what are you struggling with? Then basically try and adapt the question on how are you doing today to the emotion that or the state that you are observing at that point in time, because if you see somebody who's in a messy situation, I can desk with all kinds of paper, all kinds of notes scribbled around all kinds of windows open on the screen, you could actually say, hey, it looks like you're very busy. I think you need a break, let's grab a coffee. And then most likely, you'll get a big sigh of relief, and they'll have a conversation with you. But just before you ask, or pop such a question, make sure that you do a little observation observation that just takes like two seconds and try and adapt your your question to what you're actually seeing. Because that advice, yeah, because just a small tweak, it actually has a big impact there. And also, something that is very impactful. For a lot of people that I coached on, is the actual fact of notetaking. It's like super simple. But I think Note taking is the most underappreciated skill that you can have as a knowledge worker, it can just be a pencil or a block, not something that is like physical, dedicated notebook, if you want it to be portable, or it could go like completely fancy with one of these mole skins or leather bound, I don't know what people actually get. But if you just have to have the opportunity to scratch down some random notes on a piece of paper, and then make sure that you everyday, go through your notes, and then process them. And that's the important bit as processing your notes into actionable items and stuff you want to basically get back to at a later stage, you'll be surprised that with these little notes, and that you can grab back to specific things that were said or that you know that when you took your notes, and that you will forget like 15 minutes after the the event happens. Being able to grab back to those things and your communications or any implementations that you're doing, it will do wonders, because people are like creatures of how should I put this. People are very ego oriented. So if you are able to grab back to something that's fairly specific, and it's actually important on the way somebody said it and the exact wording that they used, if you can grab back to that, and continue on that in another conversation, the other person will remember that it is something that they specifically set in the city in a specific way, and that it is something that they raised in the meeting that you were present at. And just doing things like that, it will immediately have the effect that anything you say, after that we'll have a lot more impact, because people will then hey, he noticed something about me, he noticed some of my thoughts. And then everything you say after that, that is something that's has some special attention with the recipient of these bits of information that you're sharing with them. So and the side effect as well, if you write something down, I don't know that supposedly also part of the previous base that we did the physical act of writing something down. I don't know if you ever experienced this or experienced this when you were learning something. But the reason that you write certain things down, it makes it stick much better in in your head as well. Because quite often I take notes and I don't even need to refer to notes, I just know what's in my notes. But just the actual physical act of writing it down is very important to make sure that things stick and sometimes it can be very helpful to get through something that is not as interesting or exciting, you can just do it a little bit because that is like a little bit of subconscious activity that makes sure that the active parts of your brain stay more engaged with the actual conversation going on. So there's multiple benefits there. But definitely investigate notetaking because it is it is a superpower and it allows you to be much more effective in whatever you do and what you ever you capture in meetings. But also, if you're programming for yourself, you're just being able to sketch out a little engineering diagram you know, a little bit of a class diagram or a sequence diagram in whichever rudimentary form that you are capable of. Just having like these boxes with arrows between them, it's probably a allows you to think much more clearly about the software development to do that you're doing at that point in time.

Stefan Blos:

Yeah, two points here, I think Note taking is an absolute great thing to do. There's also digital services that allow you to do this pretty nicely, I think. Right? Oh, is something I really enjoyed for sketching out quick, quick things. And to get a quick structure of something I want to build maybe. Yeah. And on the anecdote on the thing, you mentioned that things will stick in your head way better. When you take notes. during my college years, I was the person who always wrote summaries for every subject we had. And then I never looked at those because it was sufficient to just write everything down and think about how to how to summarize it. And from only from that on, I knew most of the stuff I wrote down. And I didn't have to learn too much from that. And also actually distributed that to everyone else, because there was always benefiting from that. But for myself, it was just like this Act of, hey, I need to do this, because like this, this is a great way to learn stuff. So just this stress, the importance of note taking and what it means with your brain.

Jeroen Leenarts:

And, and next to that, because what we keep coming back to this just giving attention to an individual, but it's also an engineering topics. So it's really important to be able to be in the moment with what you are working on, whether that's like an a discussion, some, some investigation or some technical challenge that you need to need to solve. But one of the things that you can do there is pretty much scheduling yourself. And it also really helps with keeping people off of your own schedule. And that's just to if you want to have some focus time for yourself to work at a specific task, and just put an item in your calendar that allows you to work on that.

Stefan Blos:

I actually learned that from you. And I think this is a very valuable and nice thing to do the scheduling of focus time. That was really helpful.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah, because I don't know how it works for other people. But I noticed that if you are if you have an open schedule, and at some point, I don't know, people just start throwing stuff left and right. And you end up with this, with this day that it's like you have like, tons of meetings, and you just wish that they would like either not be in your schedule or there that they are at least like condensed down to like only a couple hours if you're really unlucky with meetings. But you can at least like make sure that a certain section of the day is is not touched by anyone. And also be very strict about it. If somebody has to skate to something on a specific time, default answer should be no. Unless they they get in touch with you. And they can put in very concise, concise words why it is important as this meeting proceeds. Exactly at that time and not like a few hours later, or maybe a day later. No, it's you will notice that if your calendar is blocked, then I don't know it's it has some it has some magic effect on on that people don't schedule stuff. They're fortunate makes sense,

Stefan Blos:

which makes sense. I want to note that there's also tools that help you with that. So I know that both of us are using clock, if I think it's called a clockwise, it's clockwise. I was I was mixed up. But that basically, I noticed that both are tools that are exactly doing the same thing. So I think having something like this already helps to be really strict about that, to really have this focus time for you and then be really available when people are having a call with you or when something scheduled. So this really helps to, to emphasize that.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Are there any specific questions that people might have or stuff that they want to raise? Please let me know. And you can get the microphone. Same question for you. Stefan, are there specific things that you want to dig in to a little bit

Stefan Blos:

like there's no specific question but I think the the last points that you mentioned like this note taking and then also the time scheduling and focus time. I think those are really valuable because this is practical things that you can do right now that really help you to do you have more of that because like I want to I want to I want to drink from your fountain of wisdom.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Wow. I sound like an old person. So yeah, what's also Very important, I think if especially if the if you have the right culture, in the surroundings that you're working, is to also make sure that that knowledge is being shared freely within, within the team or the company or whatever context that you're working with. And I've noticed that if you want to share knowledge, it works best if you if you start with it, because for some reason, knowledge is some sort of weird currency even. So it is like, you either give some knowledge, or you receive some knowledge, and in the end, things has to sort of balance out. And knowledge transfer can be like, paid for sounds really weird, maybe, but it can be paid for by other things as well. So somebody gives you some knowledge, then, and you help them out with a specific task. And then that's, that's actually something that I've noticed that that's that if you consider knowledge to be a currency, but not in a way that you absolutely have to balance it back to zero. But people have a tendency to share things more freely, if you if the if it's very clear for them, what's in it for them. So if you approach a colleague that knows about a metric ton of stuff about databases, you could just ask them Hey, man, can you like, give me a run through of of how this database stuff work? Or what can you say, show me some cool SQL queries that you're proud of, to just take me through it? And tell me a little bit of what it does and how it works? And can you then if I don't understand something, then point me to some resources so that I can learn a bit more about it on my own and afterwards, ask questions. And then they go, yeah, yeah, sure, yeah. Maybe if What if I have some time, and then you can say, Well, what about if I then, and in return, I will make sure that you have plenty of coffee for the rest of the day. And then we'll make sure that there's tedious tasks that that's on your JIRA list that I'll take care of that afterwards. For instance, going through some, I don't know, some CV CSV files that need some cleaning or something somewhere. So copy paste work, I've noticed that if you do that, that's it does take a lot of time, but within within, like, within a few weeks, there's like, a lot more that you know, all of a sudden, and it's also it makes you a lot more effective. And you just be just the act of knowing more. But also, by accident, by doing things like this, you also create relations with people that you have these exchanges with, because you just compare it to some friends that you have in your personal life. That's also always like a give or take situation, if you have a good friend, if you really need them, they're there for you. But they in return, also know that if they need you, you will be there for them as well. And but also, sometimes you just throw them a favor, and they do a favor in return. That's how friendship works, right. And colleagues, it's also I like to keep a very clear separation between colleagues and friends. But it is this is a similar type of relation. And if you then apply knowledge sharing on that, that's a way as I said, with the currency, it's it's an exchange of favors really. And if you think about it like that, and if somebody shares knowledge with you just think, hey, what can I do for this person to return the favor, maybe you know something about a different topic that they might be interested in. Or maybe they just want to make sure that you just want to make sure that they have a well filled cup of coffee for the for the rest of the day. It can be really silly, but it can also be very meaningful. And just sometimes it's just enough to just say, thank you, and just showing some appreciation is also a good way to pay back a lot of people on the things that they actually do for you, because sharing knowledge, it takes effort if you do it right.

Stefan Blos:

I think I want to I want to quickly touch on that because I think from the opposite side, if you if you have the chance to share knowledge. I mean, if you request something, it's always great to be open about returning the favor in some way. But I think something I've tried to live by during not only the career wise but also also in personal life. I think it's always nice to be open to share knowledge and to help out people without expecting them to return the favor in any way. That because it it will always come back to you in person positive way, it will have no met experience that I regretted that, or that I have that I got some negative experience out of this, it has always been positive and people that the first thing is that people will be thankful for that. Yeah. And if you don't ask them to do anything in return, they will, they will still think positively of you. And it may not have an impact right away. But maybe in a year's relate year later or something, there will be an opportunity where they can be helpful to you, or, or not. But I mean, like

Jeroen Leenarts:

just can, I can add something there. Because it's also in this case, the exchange of looking at it in a way that it's some sort of currency that you're exchanging even works because you are sharing value, and spreading knowledge. And what I noticed is that sometimes you you share something with somebody, it's while it takes like an hour of your time, and you have a lot of fun doing it. But then, like a year later, this person returns the favor. But what I noticed then is they return the favor. Well, with an interest rate that you don't get at your usual branch bank nowadays anymore. And that's also very important to consider that if you if you share knowledge, it always gets back to you with interest. And that's fun. Because, yeah, you can then of course, share more knowledge again. Yeah, absolutely.

Stefan Blos:

I think this is this is a very important thing to do. Because it really helps you build relationships. And not be not be too, too. too demanding of seeing any returns from

Jeroen Leenarts:

that. Yeah. Dan, always expectations is always a killer. Because once people start expecting things, then yeah, expectations are never met. And then yeah, people are, like, bummed out, because they're not getting what they think they should be getting. And you can also protect yourself against that by doing a lot of these sharing things. Without too much expectations. Just, I think one of the expectations you could have when you're sharing knowledge, especially on in a one on one situation, that the other person at least has the decency to to act like they're listening, right. And that's, that's pretty much the only expectation you you should have when when sharing knowledge, I think. Yeah.

Stefan Blos:

So to everyone in this room, just be nice to people. That's the takeaway from that. Be nice to everybody.

Jeroen Leenarts:

And I'm thinking about, like, what's more, something that would really help you show leadership in like small ways, and that's one of the things that's very liable, it's very broad one. But that's, that's on being reliable. So yeah, you can be reliable, but not making any empty promises. So if something involves time, make sure that you indicate that and that you then give yourself a reasonable timeframe to finish the work. And also, sometimes if you just don't have the bandwidth to do something, it's fine to say no, because what is worse, just saying that you can't do something or telling you will do it and then not execute or execute poorly on it. And, yeah, that's just about making sure that you don't make any false claims. And being reliable also means that you know, your own limits, right. So that's, if you're already saturated with work, being able to say no, or sometimes go into a discussion, okay, I can't do this, but something has to go from a schedule, then. And then you can have a discussion about it. That's being reliable, even though you're choosing then actively to finish other work. Sorry, to not finish other work. And, yeah, it's also important in this regards, that it is a very important way to take care of yourself, but because if you have unreasonable expectations on you, as an individual, why would you add to that, why would you why would you accept expectations on you that you cannot meet? And you know, that beforehand, right, and I think just being able to say no, because you don't have the time, or being able to have a discussion about that. That's also very important skill to make sure and to showcase that you're on top of your own schedule, and that you're in charge of your own schedule, and that you know what you're doing and that you also know what you're not capable of doing. So never overburden yourself, and that's just false saying no and not saying no, is a very hard thing for people. I think.

Stefan Blos:

Exactly. I want to I wanted to jump on that because I think this having this transparency while it's super hard, especially for for people who have are in a more junior role, because they Yeah, maybe I'm not that, that they don't have the self confidence to allow themselves to say that. But also, maybe if you're new in a company, you started off, and maybe you're afraid to just say no, when you're overworked, maybe you're not, don't feel experienced enough to pursue a certain task. But being transparent about these things, rarely has negative side effects. It shows that you're a, know what you're doing that you're can can estimate your own workload, and you can estimate how well you will be able to perform a task. And it will actually also show that you're caring about the end result. Because you can say, Hey, I know I can do this. And I can chop this off quickly and just have a have a sub ideal result. Or I can already say, tell you, Hey, I won't be able to manage to do this. So maybe it's better to assign this to someone else, or maybe postpone that until a later time. So I think having this transparency is also a sign of of experience. And this leadership kind of role there.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah, just the fact of being on time for a meeting pets, it's bit of a pet peeve for me, but it's sometimes a struggle with it myself as well. But you have you ever been in a meeting online or offline and that you're like, Oh, you're right on time, like, you know, like two minutes before you're there waiting for the other person. And then like, five minutes in, they come running by and they pants and they sit down sweat on their face. And they say like, Oh, I'm so busy. Oh, it's so what it signals to me is just this person being very self absorbed and finding their own time more important than my time. And I really struggle with it to just keep my mouth shut, because that's the best thing you can probably do in a situation like that and not complain. Just be cautious about it and say, Yes, can happen. Let's let's see if we can like be on time next time. Because I want to get started. But yeah, of course, sometimes people have totally legitimate reasons for for, like, not being on time. But yeah, never have an excuse that's in the in the ballpark of your dog eating your homework, because those don't show true immediately. In my, in my view.

Stefan Blos:

Just could you jump on that again, transparency always helps, right? Yep. Because of course, if you don't, if you just come in late and say sorry for that. I mean, that will leave the impression that I had more important things to do. But now I also have time for you. And this is never the sentiment you want to raise in other people. So you always be want to be transparent about this. And the sorry about that. And really make sure that you have enough time for that for for the task at hand. And the Be honest about that.

Jeroen Leenarts:

And let's see is that is there some other practical thing that people can start doing tomorrow?

Stefan Blos:

People from the audience want to share something, yeah, have questions always feel free. They're always happy when someone chimes in and talks about their experiences or annotations.

Jeroen Leenarts:

I have one more that could be interesting. And that's what I like to call keeping tabs on your on your surroundings is a bit situational because yeah, if you're working in a team of like 30 people, it's a bit hard. But if you're like you know working in a typical Scrum or agile environment you're most likely you're working in a team of like, I don't know seven people maybe 10 But make sure that you that you each and every individual person in your in your team that you that you just take some take some time every now and then. And of course in the office environments that's like a lot easier but even online because both of us we work remotely but I do want to have like these these these calls with people regularly so just to just have a chat with them and it's a call is even just the wrong word but just yeah just having like a bit of a bit of a chat with them hey, how you doing? What do you do what are you working on? Just it might feel a bit weird you know, just walking up to college for and or approaching them on Slack and saying hey, what are you working on? But you can usually if you if you do it a couple times you will see that there when they when somebody messages or sends a message in some some topic that's like an immediate way that later in the day you can just grab back to that and Hey, how did you work with such and such Progress were any anything you ran into, and just just being friendly and just asking a question. And listening a bit to people, that's, that's a very important one, because you will notice that, especially within teams, if you if you have connection with with all team members in to some level, you will immediately know a lot more on the dynamics within the team. So who has like, more weight in a in a group conversation who has on the engineering level, very solid thoughts, but it's sometimes maybe even overruled a little bit by by one of his colleagues, because that other colleague is a bit more vocal, you know, stuff like that. But just like, in any group environment, make sure that you have connection with all the group members on a one on one level. So for eyes only, and just just have a bit of an informal, you know, just hey, how, just just ask how their day is going. And especially use the thing that we mentioned earlier, making sure that you check, look them in the eye and just check how their mental state is at that moment, not like crazy, but more like a if they seem like exhausted or at the very happy about something or you know, so sometimes you get these people that you meet, and they'll actually call it well, they're like very bright and bubbly and very happy. And then just that's an easy conversation, right? It's just hey, what are you so happy about? And then they'll they'll tell you why they're happy, right? And then you have some cool interaction with them. And that's something that you can build report on. And then later, yeah, that's always good to have, right.

Stefan Blos:

Yeah, this also touches on the point that we already discussed that listening is very important. And I think going the extra mile there and really showing interested in how people are doing and how they're feeling and how their situation is what they're working on and everything. I think this also really shows that you're really interested in that topic. So this is something that's really powerful, I think, as well. So you should have them do that.

Jeroen Leenarts:

But then the question is, of course, we're all software developers, right? And we all work with computers, because they, they have meaning to us, you tell them to do something. And then if you tell them correctly, of course, then they'll do that. People are different compared to computers. Lucky. But But I got started with computers, because I like this, like, input output response cycle with a computer that it's like, it has, like, it has it gives me control. And it's something that I can operate. People are different. How do I how to help me? Sure.

Stefan Blos:

I mean, I can explain people to you in like, two minutes. No, I mean, yeah, it's it's a very complex topic, right. I mean, but I think the, the points that we already mentioned, are all helpful, like, like we mentioned, like listening, showing interest, allowing, allowing them or allowing people to be in a safe space to be in a safe environment. To make mistakes, I think this all helps to, to have a nice way of getting along with people. And while also showing, showing them interest and basically being interested in what they're doing, and how they can be, how can they do the best work possible and feel safest? Right? Or do you have any magical magical tips on how to get along with people? I mean, that's probably probably not, not the entire topic of this room. But yeah,

Jeroen Leenarts:

that's like, too difficult, because that's so dependent on the individual question. It's also you sometimes you just have to accept that there are people, if you put them together, that it just doesn't work, right, that it's like, you have to they on a professional level, they are able to, to hand off work to each other. But you shouldn't expect more of the relation between these two people, right. But one of the things that you didn't mention is that whatever you invest in other people, whether that's knowledge, whether that's attention, whether that's like helping them out, anything really, that it is something that will get back to you. And that's something that you mentioned as well. And I think that holds true for being and displaying leadership within a team, even if you're just an individual contributor, is also very important. Because if you if you show if you do these things, then the team around you will get better at whatever they're doing as a job. They will appreciate you for what you're doing. Because yeah, you just you know, do you Just you that just thoughtful and you think about other people, people start thinking about you as well. And you will see that if this starts happening and there's like, nothing holding the team back, then you will probably get into the situation that like 10 years from now, you will look back and say, again, you remember that team that we work with, like they're there, and that we were like developing this product. And it was amazing. And what people tend to talk about in those cases is not the actual product that's worked on. But they will be referring back to the people that we work with. both positive and negative. And just, yeah, it's whatever you do, even if it's like, even if it's like the hardest technical things that you do. It's always about relations that you have with people along the way. And those are the things that you will bring forward in any new ventures that you do after any projects or company that you work at or anything really. And I think that's a that's a very important thing to remember. And if you appreciate the fact that you're dealing with human relations, and just investing in those human relations, that's, I think, the biggest sign of leadership that you can showcase as an individual in any part of your life, I think.

Stefan Blos:

I think you have beautifully said that. I can I can only only a second that. I mean, it's really important. And I think this is the most interesting part about being a developer, right? Because the first thought that people have heard this as a developer, they only encountered their computer and do nothing else, that it's really so much more than working in a team, working with people, it shows really the entire amount of complexity that the role of a developer really has. So I think it's really, really important for everyone. Think about how to be good at these other topics.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah, and invest some time in developing some of these skills, if you're really bad at them. Or if at least people say to you that you're not good at specific aspects of these things. Because, as with software development, as with any sports, anything, really, it just takes practice.

Stefan Blos:

In. Absolutely. But I mean, if you, the question would be, if you have the chance to work with a developer who's like, the best, best of the best. But in the soft skills department, or in the leadership leadership department, they really lack skills, or if you work with a good Good to Great engineer, a great developer, but they really have a great a great reputation as a leader as a as a teammate, as a colleague. I mean, it's clear which person you choose from that right.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah, I would go with the, with the 10x developer, but to me, a 10x developer is is a person I can work with, and who will make sure that we together get better and deliver the best work together because there's a reason pair programming, if done correctly, or work so well, because it's an it's an interaction between people and a side product of this interaction is his working code.

Stefan Blos:

Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Jeroen Leenarts:

If there's anybody who has some questions, just raise your hand now. And otherwise, I'd say that we've we've filled an hour already of your time. And I want to respect your schedule as well. And yeah, if there's anything afterwards, just let me know. Stefan and my DMs are always open. And yeah, look forward to hearing from you.

Stefan Blos:

Yeah, and we should also mention, like, I think we made it to the one hour mark without doing any marketing possible to do a talk on a topic that that will touch on a lot of things we talked about today. That swift heroes in when is it April or May I think

Jeroen Leenarts:

it's April, second and April 8, and then it's just look for swift errors on Twitter, or, or Google or whatever search engine use and you can't miss. It's incident Turin in Italy, but there's also a very interesting online tickets available. It's like 19 euros, and then you can experience the entire event online, even if you're on the other side of the world. And I was told that he will also provide recordings of all the sessions and talks that are being done at the conference. which will then get access to, as well if you opt for an online ticket, but I would love for you to come in person because Stefan and I will also be there in person, at least Yeah, that's the plan.

Stefan Blos:

That's the plan if there's no, no worldwide situation change. But yeah, I mean, really, really looking forward to that. Also, I want to mention that we will, or we are doing these these Coffee Chat talks, or Twitter spaces regularly, so probably probably next week, there will be another one. So if you're if you're interested in that, make sure to follow us on the socials and and keep keep updated on that. Yeah.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Oh, yeah. Planning plan. Plan is to do in the next one a little bit more technical, I think. Right.

Stefan Blos:

Yeah, that's, that's, that's exactly right. And we're taking turns and hosting them. So yeah, if you, if you want to follow us there, just just make sure to be on the Twitter and see what we're posting about, because we will share that.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Okay. But I'd say thanks for your time, everybody and talk to you again next time. And follow us on Twitter and keep the interaction going because I love getting feedback. And I think the same holds true for Stefan as well.

Stefan Blos:

Exactly. Thank you everybody for listening. It was really nice talking to you as well.

(Cont.) Twitter Space: Everyday Leadership as a software developer