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Part 5. Hiring Smarter: A Leader’s Strategy for Team Excellence

Part 5. Hiring Smarter: A Leader's Strategy for Team Excellence
Part 5. Hiring Smarter: A Leader's Strategy for Team Excellence

As we continue our exploration of technical leadership, a critical aspect emerges: the art of building a strong team. This involves not just managing people, but being instrumental in hiring them. In this part, I’ll discuss why, as a leader, you should strive to hire individuals who are smarter than you and how this approach can be transformative for both you and your organization.

As a leader, you’re often deeply involved in the hiring process, either for your team or your organization. This responsibility comes with a unique challenge: the quest to find individuals who are potentially smarter than you. Rather than simply hoping to find such talent, you should be actively shaping the processes that will help you discover these individuals.

Overcoming Ego

For many, this can be an ego challenge. These are the people who will question and challenge you daily. However, they are also the ones who will consistently impress you by achieving objectives. Some might even aspire to lead the team in the future.

It’s crucial not to perceive this as a threat. Instead, view it as an opportunity to learn and grow. This becomes much easier when you’re surrounded by capable individuals pushing you to excel. Additionally, this approach offers the chance to mentor an exceptional team, explore new opportunities within the organization, or even enjoy a stress-free vacation, knowing your work is in good hands.

Case Study: The Loop’s Automated Betting Project

A year ago at Loop, we embarked on an ambitious project in automated betting. This project aimed to implement a winning strategy in the sports betting market, primarily through arbitrage among various betting houses, with different parameters. 

It was a demanding project, requiring domain knowledge, strategy implementation, and managing time-sensitive operations across multiple microservices.

As the tech lead, I was tasked with understanding client requirements and translating them into an architecture and led a team of three devs. Midway through the project, an opportunity arose to lead a Data Engineering team at a major financial institution in the United States – a greater challenge for me.

At this point, the project was progressing well, largely due to a highly capable team. Among them was a developer who stood out for his grasp of business logic and architectural decisions. 

This developer took excellent ownership, effectively interacting with all project stakeholders, from the end client to the betting house stakeholders. He managed to launch the application into production, fix errors, and gained considerable trust from the client. 

From my side, I established a weekly mentoring meeting to provide support and oversight for the project while I’ve planted my flag with another client that challenges me even more. 

We often harbor a false sense of control, believing that our presence is crucial for a project’s success

Conclusion 

The journey of technical leadership is not just about guiding a team but also about strategically empowering it. Hiring individuals smarter than ourselves is evidence of a leader’s foresight and commitment to organizational excellence. This approach not only drives innovation and achievement but also fosters a culture of continuous learning and mutual respect.

It’s never a threat; it’s always an opportunity for growth.