Jobs are temporary. Teams are for life.
Working here at Engine Yard has been really incredibly rewarding, and it's given me a chance to really reflect on what I feel is most important in fostering a team. It boils down to the realization that jobs are temporary, but teams are life long relationships.
Under the stress of running a development team, managing a roadmap, talking to customers and dealing with the hundreds of other interrupts that happen throughout the day in a startup, it's important to keep focused on the number one priority – growing the people working with you.
Times have changed since my parents were in the workforce. It's not only strange to consider working at a company for dozens of years – it's downright scary. People move on, and the team as a whole constantly grows and evolves with those changes. This is healthy, as long as it's strongly embraced.
When doing one-on-one's with the developers over beers, I remind them that my role isn't to get the most out of them for the sake of The Company™. My job is to foster each person in my team - enabling them to shine while they're with me, and making sure I put them on a path towards their long-term goals, no matter what they may be.
We regularly chat about what they want to do after they move on, and the answers are always interesting. I've heard answers from starting a startup, to running a consultancy, to building an artisan shoe store. And I've tried hard to find ways of putting each of those people in situations that build the skills they'll need to make those moves.
A good first step in cultivating a culture like this comes when you first meet with a new team member. Set the precedent of openness, honesty and trust during that crucial bit of time together to ask them: