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I've been a software engineer for quite a while, but recently I got promoted to a team lead which causes me a lot of STRESS.

Now I'm superior to my peers which makes all of us a bit uncomfortable, but that's the last issue.

I'm learning a lot of new which are all around listening more, resolving conflicts, and a TON of communication. And picking up all this "softy" stuff is a quite struggle for me because I'm left alone with that - VP is a great guy but too busy to spend time with me.

Have you been through this? How did you find your way to becoming a leader?

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  • Yes, been there - done that. The transition is not easy indeed. What you need is to set clear expectations between you and your team as well as between you and your boss, VP. The more is everything in the open the less stress you should have.
    – PM 77-1
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 22:49

2 Answers 2

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You have a learning curve to go through, for sure.

Your VP will always be busy, this is common. Your VP expects you to manage the team on a daily basis so he can attend his hundred more responsibilities.

Make sure to schedule a weekly meeting with him. You will have to be succint in such meetings, give a quick summary of the current state of the projects, and anything you require from him.

For how much busy a VP can be, he won't have much trouble (hopefully) with having a weekly meeting with you, as he can lock down his calendar for that time and this gives him a more organised schedule.

Regarding the day to day management, you will have to find your way to resolve most of the issues without having to require the VP. For that we miss a lot of context on what is that the VP is giving you that you can't find on your own.

Either way, if the issue you or your subordinates encounter certainly requires VP intervention, you will have to decide whether the issue is urgent or it can wait until the next weekly meeting to be addressed.

Finally, if it's causing you stress, think what is the cause of that stress and try to address it. It is normal to be uncomfortable during a new stage in your professional career, with new role and responsibilities, but if this stress continues over time, try to find the root cause or get some professional advice.

Best of luck in your new stage.

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Being "promoted" from software engineer to team lead can be quite stressful. For many people, it is not a promotion as much as a major work life change.

Because your VP is not readily available, the best solution will be to find a mentor from outside of the company who can advise you. Look for someone 15-20 years older who has lead software teams and ask if you can use that person's experience. That person can help you have the proper perspective on situations where even your VP won't. People who have used multiple mentors throughout life often have far more success.

Depending on how experienced your team is, you might be able to use the team as a "collaborative leadership". When you have a mostly experienced team, they already know how to deal with conflicts, etc. and using team meetings can be the right way. With a younger team, your job will be more like a "sports team coach" and techniques from that field might help.

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