The Importance Of Trust
What sets apart average vs. great software engineers is trust.
When you work back from what stakeholders are looking for in their team, it’s easy to discover trust is everything.
Putting ourselves in the shoes of a CTO, let’s say you’re responsible for a website brand refresh with a fixed deadline.
What this CTO will require of their engineers is accurate estimates on work duration, honest updates on progress and faith that there’s focus on tasks without whimsical deviations.
How to lose trust
What you find from average and bad engineers in this scenario is the inverse of expectations. Estimates are provided that are too ambitious so as to appear “smarter”. Updates start to hide truths for fear of retribution. Some tangentially related work is performed around a task as the engineer found more interesting. Some of these traits can be valuable as it shows a degree of conscientiousness and autonomy but most of the time it just slows the project down and frustrates the team.
How to gain trust
Now assuming the position of the engineer, building trust is to understand what the stakeholder’s idea of success looks like and how you can help her achieve that without getting in their way.
It would help if engineers had more conviction in providing conservative estimates on tasks. You’re better off underpromising and overdelivering.
You need to speak up when you find roadblocks. Better yet, when a roadblock arises, be timely in alerting it and propose a workaround. This demonstrates competence and eases the burden on the receiver of the news to find a resolution.
You should stay laser-focused on your tasks and their scope, completing them with the best quality in the shortest amount of time.
If you follow these general pointers, you’ll find more trust and responsibility will be offered by the stakeholders and your peers. This is because they know you’ll do what you say you’ll do to a good standard. As always with trust, you have to ensure you’re consistent over time otherwise it quickly loses its credence.
Trust has a tremendous amount of value associated as it’ll lead to promotions, bonuses and keeps you top of mind for poaching when colleagues leave for other teams or companies.