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Leadership in software development - At Level 1

John Maxwell has described 5 levels of leadership which help leaders in any business domain to understand where they are and where to go from there. His book "The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential" covers the levels in much more details with example. In this article, I will share what I have learned from my experiences and challenges I faced during my Level 1 of leadership and how I was able to make it through to next level.

How you make team feel?

Being a newly introduced leader, team will not be knowing you beyond a formal introduction. Communications and action during initial days are most important  and here is what is recommended.
  • Be a curious listener and allow your team members to speak. 
  • Do not provide solutions right away. Make sure that its just information that do not require action, a general complain that requires taking note or a problematic situation where immediate action from your end is required.
  • Do not talk about your expertise, experiences etc to show you are right person to solve their problems. Instead, take appropriate actions, solve the in hand problem in your responsibility and thank the team for helping you. Actions influence the team more than talking!
By having you in the team, they should start feeling more empower, supported and capable.

Focus on basics

Being a leader of any software development team, you must understand what they work on daily basis and how they accomplish expected output with very good details and here is what is recommended.
  • Know what work means in your team and how everybody feels about the timelines, deliveries and output (productivity + quality) expected. 
  • Know what is maturity level of must have basic processes that can help them.
  • Do not criticize or change anything unless you understand WHY they follow existing processes. Ask WHY to the team and listen to them carefully.
  • Do not start changing anything until you fully monitor and understand full set of followed processes for several time.
By having you in the team, when team talks to you about work, you should be able to fully understand it. Even if you cannot solve all their problems as a new leader, listening and understanding  their problems will help you a lot build confidence and trust in the team.

Ask how can you help? 

There are times when team is busy doing their regular work disconnected from you. Visit them at least once in a day asking how they are dong with their work and if you can you help with something. This will give a clear message that you are available to them and open to help.


Keep an eye on smallest achievements of the team and make them feel proud by doing a quick team meeting. Give credit to full team work and celebrate by clapping and appreciating all hard work that has been done by the full team.

In my experience, periodic round of appreciation always motivate people to create a great team bonding. People will prefer to help each other more, crave to achieve more and work harder to receive more of these kind of achievements.


Being at Level 1 is exciting! You are full of energy, learning initial lessons of leadership and working hard towards moving forward to level 2! Hope this quick tips will help you! Feel feel to share your ideas and experience on the same by putting comments below!

Stay in touch & Good luck with your journey of leadership!

Note: This blog post is cross posted from my original blog here