From Senior to VP of Engineering: My Leadership Journey with Innovecs

June 10, 2024 4 min read

Innovecs plays a pivotal role in nurturing the leadership potential within our team members. In this article, we spotlight the inspiring journey of Yurii Zhoholiev, VP of Engineering at Innovecs, who exemplifies the path from a technical expert to a visionary leader.

Guided by the comprehensive support system at Innovecs, Yurii’s story illustrates how our organization empowers individuals to grow, learn, and evolve into effective leaders and managers. This case highlights Innovecs’ commitment to fostering leadership development, reinforcing our culture of continuous learning, and promoting professional growth at all levels.

Let’s pass the mic to Yurii to share his journey and insights on becoming a leader.

A Rapid Ascent with Innovecs

In my previous company, I held a Senior position for a considerable time before realizing I needed new challenges and growth opportunities. Seeking a place where I could continue my development, I was drawn to Innovecs due to its dynamic startup environment and career advancement possibilities. It wasn’t long before Innovecs recruiters got in touch, and I decided to try my hand here.

Shortly after joining, I was promoted to Team Lead. At an early stage of the project, the need to expand the team became apparent, and I stepped into the leadership role right when it was most critical. From the outset, my approach was rooted in taking responsibility and making autonomous decisions, which led to my promotion.

Selecting Leaders and Ensuring Objectivity in Promotions

When it comes to promotions, it’s crucial to choose individuals who already exhibit leadership qualities and perform tasks at the level required by the new position. If the team naturally views a candidate as a leader, the promotion happens organically. We always keep potential team leaders in our sights as they display their leadership in their daily work. This is a natural evolution of their role.

In cases of questions about a promotion, we hold meetings with colleagues to clearly explain the reasons behind our choice. It’s important to be objective and transparent, providing a development plan and opportunities to enhance skills. Whenever possible, we support team members’ aspirations to become leaders through courses and training offered by Innovecs.

The courses organized by the InnoСamp team were particularly instrumental in my development as a leader. Throughout my time at Innovecs, I had the opportunity to participate in various courses, but I’d like to highlight those that specifically helped me become a more effective manager. These included the Management Development Program, Coaching Style Leadership, How to Conduct Effective 1-on-1 Meetings, Modern Feedback Formula, Personal Management, and Getting Things Done.

Learning from Colleagues

When I joined the company, I was the strongest back-end engineer. However, when offered the chance to hire an engineer with better experience, I fully supported the idea because understanding the limits of one’s own expertise is paramount. Learning from colleagues is the quickest way to evolve. Leveraging the experience of others significantly accelerates professional growth, as you can acquire knowledge and skills directly from experts.

The training and development opportunities at Innovecs allowed me to not only rapidly advance as a professional but also helped me build an effective team capable of tackling the most challenging tasks.

Introspective Leadership

As time went on, the team needed an Engineering Manager, so management offered me the role. We agreed that if it didn’t work out, I could return to my Lead position.

This new challenge required me to define my tasks independently, unlike my previous role as a Team Lead. Feelings akin to “impostor syndrome” arise when there are no clear goals, and you need to crystallize them yourself. It’s a constant struggle because it’s difficult to gauge your own effectiveness without clear criteria.

I strove to do everything possible to ensure the success of the team and the project. I’ve felt that our project at Innovecs feels like a dynamic startup with many active processes, making it easy to find areas to work on. While more managerial tasks were expected of me, I retained my technical expertise because it interests me. This allowed me to deeply understand how systems work and make technical decisions.

At this stage, I experienced a paradigm shift in evaluating my personal effectiveness. A leader’s effectiveness is assessed by the effectiveness of the team they are responsible for. This concept becomes increasingly apparent with each new career step.

Now, as the VP of Engineering, I invest my time and energy in creating a constructive environment for my teammates, supporting and striving to help them.

Handling Tough Decisions

Sometimes, decisions must be made with minimal information, requiring quick data gathering for well-founded conclusions. Risks are an inherent part of a leader’s job.

The company’s growth required implementing clear processes for effectively managing large teams. Tough times call for tough measures, and during a recession, we faced the hard decision of layoffs. Laying off strong engineers is one of the most challenging tasks because criteria for fair selection must be chosen. It’s important to think about the company’s future and remain as transparent as possible with the team. If there are problems, it’s best to address them openly and propose solutions.

Transparency and Team Support

We’ve always worked on the best ways to convey unpleasant news to the team. It’s essential not only to inform about problems but also to propose action plans. This helps maintain trust and motivation.

As leaders, we not only perform administrative functions but also continue to support the team. Even when unexpected challenges arise, such as policy changes or security issues, we are ready to help. The core principle is to work as a tight-knit team, regardless of formal positions. Leaders should demonstrate their contributions and help the team succeed.

Our goal is not just to fulfill job descriptions but to remain true leaders who support and drive the team forward.

Don't See Your Dream Job?