Developers solve problems and unravel mysteries of considerable complexity. We do that by discovering new useful ideas and concepts. It's a highly creative effort which requires lots of thinking, questioning and experimentation, often in collaboration with others. When that stuff is working, a dev team can do astonishing work. But to get there, some fundamentals are needed:
- It must be ok to fail
- Everyone must feel safe to express their ideas
Lack of trust is the no:1 reason organizations fails to improveIn my experience, lack of trust is the no:1 reason organizations fails to improve their team development effort. Without trust, fear starts to dominate. Fear of failure, fear of speaking up, fear of being punished, fear of trying new things, fear of losing control. Given enough time, this gives way to a command-and-control organization where people spend more time following protocol and covering their own backs rather than doing actual work.
Obviously don't allow your team go careening over a cliff, but use the opportunities that arise everyday to let them fail. Teams that fail and recover together are much stronger than ones that are protected. So a bit of trust coupled with clear expectations goes a long way to show you mean business.