Should your Engineering Lead be fired?
Mike Acton
2786

The skills you describe are, with the exception of a few that require some interpersonal aptitude, are skills that can be learned or enhanced. If you’re trying to grow talent from within, you have to expect a learning curve on some of those items. If you are hiring from without, you have to expect a different type of learning curve — that of leaving one culture and entering another. Before I’d ask if I needed to fire someone, I’d be asking if I’d done a good job of hiring and setting expectations, and then, assuming that I thought the person was talented and committed, I’d be asking if I could provide training to bring sub-par skills up to speed. I’ve seen brilliant engineers, sales, marketing people that were well respected senior achievers that on first shot, were not great leads. They didn’t have any less drive to achieve excellence before they became a lead, but things just weren’t working . Some of them, with additional training, became great in that role. Others decided to return to a status of senior individual contributor. At one larger company I worked at, we created a postion of “Senior Technical Fellow” and used that role to help add firepower to any team that was having a tough cycle. The teams appreciated the resource and the person got variety and stimulation that encouraged them to stay with us in an energized capacity. If you have a very good person who isn’t a fit for the role they are in, firing and hiring is, in my opinion, the action of last resort.