2 thoughts on “Dealing with a Diva Developer

  1. Wrapping things up:
    The role of a manager and a technical lead are very different:
    – Managers apply the rules of upper management.
    – Technical leads drive the team toward the project’s success.
    ➔ Managers are limited in their actions.
    As a lead, you are the reflection of a team:
    – If the team fails, that’s your failure.
    – If someone is shitty with other members and you did nothing, you accepted it.
    Advice for tech leads: congratulate your top performers publicly. This has two effects:
    1. Show your gratitude towards them.
    2. Send a subliminal message to bottom performers (who never got congratulated) to work more efficiently.
    Sometimes, constructive feedback isn’t enough, and an employee needs to be scolded to be right on track.
    The best way to do this is with tough love: aggressive, offensive, but the best way to make them open their eyes. Some pieces of advice:
    – Do it in private, no public humiliation.
    – Send the person home to give him the time to think about what he did.
    – Do it where nobody can hear, and make sure you are not recorded so that the person has no proof or testimony against you.
    – Use ultimatums: they correct their behavior or they are fired.
    – Use their way to communicate: if they use to be aggressive with other members, they set the rules of engagement, and it is not shocking to scold them in return.
    – Don’t be angry! You have to be in a state where you are in control of your communication, and able to return back to normal quickly if the conversation takes an abrupt turn. Remember: people are often unstable because of personal issues.
    – Be cool with your superiors, and talk to them about this person, so that if they try to report the event you get you fired, your butt is covered.
    While very uncomfortable, a good scold is better than the potential consequences of a toxic team member: depression, emotional breakdown, or in the worst case, suicide.

    Very unconventional advice, but it had to be given. Quick question, how comfortable are you with this kind of situation? Is it a skill that you had naturally, from experience, or actively trained?

    • Have I mentioned how much I appreciate you doing this? It’s fascinating to see how what I say can be summarized, and I always seem smarter in your notes than I think I sound on the podcast.

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