One of the AgileLabs team found a great article by Eduards Sizovs, which they shared with us. You can read the whole thing at
https://sizovs.net/2019/04/10/the-best-developers-are-raised-not-hired/ . The article is about the difference between teams who try to “hire the best talent”, ready-made “rockstars”, and those who focus on finding people with the right attitudes and soft skills and letting them grow.
Throughout my career I’ve always tried wherever I can to help people grow – it’s incredibly rewarding to me. When you see someone who has a talent they don’t even know they have, and can show them what they are capable of, it’s one of the most fulfilling things.
Beyond that though, if you build around growing a team, a few other very powerful things happen!
One of the things we see over and over in the wider industry is there can be a toxic culture of competition and point-scoring. If you have a culture of mentoring and growth, there’s no place for this. Everyone knows that they themselves started somewhere, and learned along the way, and learns to look for the potential in their team mates.
It becomes easier – even expected – to ask for help. This means that people won’t struggle alone, fearing that asking will make them look weak, because the culture has made it explicitly acceptable to learn. Equally, the team start to actively look out for each other, and will catch potential problems earlier.
Many software engineers are actually – deep down – not that confident, there is a lot of “imposter syndrome” in the industry. If you hire “rock stars”, perhaps luring them with money, then you know what you’re getting, but you’re competing in a crowded market. If you invest confidence and trust in people, it’s an entirely different proposition. The teams I’ve seen do this have had far lower staff turnover, because people appreciate the chance they are given.
So please read the original article, it’s a good one! Also, think about what you can do in your team to become a team who grows rather than “buys talent”. If you’re interested and want a hand getting started, get in touch – we’d love to help!