I'm working as a CTO in a small company. We have a few part-time employees but will increase the workforce when needed.
For the past 6 months I've been working on introducing tests with the goal of having continuous delivery. We've just started to use the tests on every pull request. Two of the tests were flaky and had race conditions. Someone noticed this while I was on vacation. One of the team members then suggested we should switch the current test framework/test tools to an other competing product.
When I returned, he had done some work of porting tests to this new framework as a proof of concept (with the CEO's blessing). I think this is a bad idea since frameworks are both good enough and we already have invested significant time in one of them.
I'm thinking that the real problem here isn't the tests, but that I have a team that is not working towards the same goal. My mission should be to unite the team around one solution and secondary optimize the work as possible. I sat down and compared the two test frameworks. I collected my thoughts, trying to explain why we should stick with the existing framework, but that I appreciated the research work of the employee.
In my analysis, I made a small technical error. The employee noticed this and questioned me about it. We then had a technical discussion leading to both of us having a better understanding of this particular feature/limitation.
Later I got feedback from my CEO. "It's a good thing that you try to unite the team. But when you share your thought process like that and your subordinate notices an error, you're undermining your own authority".
I've thought a lot about this. I believe my CEO is correct, but on the other hand, I don't think a CTO should always be right. I believe in a work environment where it's okay to make mistakes and where the technical excellence of the product is not limited by my own abilities, but the result of the teams abilities, leading to a product that none of us would be able to build on our own. A great leader can lead people that are smarter and more capable than himself.
Can you respect a CTO that is wrong?