A photo from my trip to Glasgow.

Developer’s Guide to Being a Better Leader — Solution-ing is Contagious

Santhosh Sundar
3 min readFeb 8, 2020

In the realm of software development and architecture, a significant portion of our time as developers and architects is dedicated to problem-solving. The intricacy of addressing challenges varies, directly correlating with the prowess of individuals or teams in devising solutions. As leaders, architects, or senior architects, it is incumbent upon us to cultivate a culture of solution-oriented thinking within our teams.

The overarching goal is to present solutions rather than problems when confronting adversity as a team. Merely highlighting obstacles without proposing a course of action or expressing an intent to resolve the issue is counterproductive. Conversely, consistently practicing the delivery of solutions during challenging circumstances enhances the team’s capacity to generate ideas for overcoming obstacles.

Solutioning is contagious

Research conducted at the University of Michigan underscores the contagion effect of solution-oriented leadership. When leaders exude positivity, as opposed to negativity, individual group members experience a more positive mood and a reduction in negative emotions. The leader’s mood significantly influences group effort; groups with leaders in a negative mood expend more effort than those led by individuals in a positive mood.

Positivity proves pivotal during challenging times. Even if the solution provided by a leader is not comprehensive, the act of presenting a solution fosters positivity, sparking new ideas. Team members follow suit, contributing to the collaborative process of solutioning.

As a leader, you possess a unique opportunity to unlock your team’s potential in problem-solving through solution-oriented leadership. It is crucial to adhere to your responsibilities, avoiding a deviation into tasks such as problem identification and delegation. Collaborate with your team to engage in problem-solving rather than relegating the responsibility to them.

Failure to provide technical expertise, especially in your designated role as an architect, can be perceived by your team, impacting their motivation to recognize you as a technical leader. While diversifying your skill set is beneficial, there is a time and place for utilizing these skills. Consistent deviation from your role as a technical leader may warrant a reconsideration of your position, as it could render you redundant and a liability to the team.

Beyond addressing immediate technical challenges, fostering a team of proficient, consistent, and focused developers necessitates the continual practice of solution-oriented thinking and the infusion of motivation. A team oriented towards solutions demonstrates heightened productivity.

Over time, this commitment to solutioning becomes ingrained in the team’s cognition, allowing them to independently focus on addressing challenges. This not only contributes to individual growth but also cultivates a culture of solutioning that is passed on to future leaders within the team.

Developer’s Guide to Being a Better Leader is a series that focuses on understanding the nitty-gritty of leadership skills required as a technologist to bring a team of developers together and deliver quality results. It is an attempt to generate more leaders who boost productivity in their teams that helps accelerate the innovation of newer products and services.

Other articles in this series:

Reference(s):

Sy, Thomas & Côté, Stéphane & Saavedra, Richard. (2005). The Contagious Leader: Impact of the Leader’s Mood on the Mood of Group Members, Group Affective Tone, and Group Processes. The Journal of applied psychology. 90. 295–305. 10.1037/0021–9010.90.2.295.

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Santhosh Sundar

Experience Engineering at Publicis Sapient. Building experiences, improving productivity, sharing ideas and implementing solutions.