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I decided to quit my earlier company where I was forced to lead a team (due to high attrition rate). I was not able to focus on developing my core skills as I could not find sufficient time between managing people and actually working on something useful for the project itself. I was scared that if this continued I would become less technically efficient down the line.

I have recently joined a company which is putting together a brand new team from ground up. I was set to join a team of skilled people and I was the junior most. At first it sounded like an ideal place to be for me, but after some time looking at other co workers I have been tasked again with the responsibility of leading the team temporarily.

About the team:

Co worker 1, who is quite good in this area is finding it tough to adapt to the new company and processes. And it has taken its toll on this person. Off late I feel that this person does not take responsibility for any work assigned. Its more of a casual attitude and sometimes even blatant arrogance. I keep hearing that he/she would resign if "this" or "that" happens. If I am not able to resolve I end up looking up to this person, since this person is the most experienced in the field but I get disappointed every time.

Co worker 2, who is supposed to be the most senior person in the team based on years of industry experience is actually not experienced in the current area of development. I am not even sure if he/she had the opportunity to work on this platform for more than a year. More than that this person behaves more like a fresh grad employee and does only what is assigned. We would not hear from this person again until the deadline has come to deliver that piece of task, and most often it would not meet the requirements and can spot issues which even a year old employee would notice. Even after explaining in detail and documenting the lessons learnt with a detailed guide on how to do as well, same things would repeat again.

Given that this is a reputed company and working on a project that would challenge any developer out there, I look forward to work on these kind of projects, but I am finding it hard to work with this team, and lately I have been asked to lead this team until a manager is hired. Considering that we are already halfway through the project and even if a new person is hired, it would be months before he/she is hired & onboarded and fully equipped to take charge. And by that time this project would be over and I will be in the same position again, not learning anything new.

Reason for my frustration is that my expectation was to work with a skilled set of people and also boosting my skills, but it ended up being totally different.

How can I improve my situation ? I do not want to quit as no matter what working on this project in this company is the best thing that has happened to me.

  • In some places, the team leader is the most experienced, the most apt to adapt, learn and transmit information to the team. – user48138 Apr 2 '16 at 14:54
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One way to improve your situation is to recognize that you are going to need the people skills that you would develop leading a small team. Make learning to get the best out of the rest of the team your main skills-boosting objective for the next year.

Even if your field offers long term technical tracks with manager-like salaries, non-manager technical leadership jobs need some ability to persuade and encourage others. In many companies technical management is the only effective promotion path for developers.

Your employers are seeing potential for long term promotion and are comfortable with your technical skills. They want you to develop the people skills you will also need, and are trying to give you the opportunity to learn by leading a project.

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Looks like your learning path is being set for you: The Management. If you are unhappy with it, you need to voice your opinion and risk being outcast by upper management by not being a "team player" and possibly find yourself out the door when and if there is reduction in workforce, i.e. lay-offs.

Also consider this, I don't know your age and years of experience you have in the industry in general, but believe what I am saying, after a while you will realize you can not learn new skills as fast as the new comers but common sense as in understanding how things go in general, grows with you and this is what makes you management material. Do you really throw this chance away ? If you say, I am completely against being management and want to stay on the technical side, I respect that but, better build a nest egg fast because, commanding what job you can choose for that area is very limited. One day you may be looking to chose between two jobs of being a COBOL programmer or an RPG-II programmer, because all other new tech jobs are better suited for the fresh grads and companies don't want to pay the compensation that you were used to.

Just a food for thought.

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