Leadership

Leadership is not given, it is taken. Leadership is not management. Leaders are born. With managers, it is a little bit different. Some managers are born, some are trained. Every person can be a good project manager if he can manage a big shopping on Saturday: buying all goods in one go, covering minimal distance and picking up only the stuff which was written on the paper. Testing for leadership is different. Whether someone is leader or not you can only feel – the answer is based on the instinct alone. It is the same in the animal world, and in that respect, leadership is a million years old job description.

What kind of leadership we know about? According to one Chinese philosopher, there are 4 types of leaders: Ones you don’t notice, next to them are the ones you admire, the ones you fear, and finally leaders you hate. Make no mistake, all four types of leadership work. Motivation to avoid pain is many times higher than motivation to seek pleasure. If you are a leader – you are one of these 4 types. Which one is your choice, not others people choice. Like Seneca said once “You are your choices”.
Does any place need a leader? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it has one. In most cases, the office place has a manager, but as I said, the same person is not necessarily a leader. It might be that a given place has both, and it can be that these roles are not owned by the same person. Something else is also possible, that the place has more than one leader, even though with some of the 4 leadership archetypes is harder to imagine that.
Does every place pretend it has one? Sure it does, as every place needs a leader and people naturally seek to have one. Does your place have one? Well, as I said, you know it already.
So, what it has to do with agile development you may ask? Nothing really. Just it helps to have one – if you are into agile development.

Are you really happy at work?

Jim Collins, in the book Good to Great suggests the following exercise:

“Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?”

Interesting read, it makes me think… I always wanted to be a football player, but it is too late now….

If you are an engineer, and you feel that this is exactly what you were born for, let me add one more test to the list. You receive a third call asking you to pick up the money only if you take a flight in the plane that was designed, implemented and tested by you. Would you still pick up the money?

Making stuff is not just a fun; it is not only about feeling cool, or geeky. It is about being proud of the thing you have created. Do you remember the first drawings you showed to your parents? How proud you felt while they were smiling looking into your creation? In the end, we like to create things that other people can use and appreciate. If you have lost that drive, or you never had it, think one more time about the stuff you do.

Don’t worry be happy? No, worry and be happy. Care about things you do.

With this post, I am closing the chapter on agile development, and starting a new serial. In the next set of blogs, I will be talking about innovation, research and development, chaos theory and s-curves, startups and big corporations, operations and support – all things I’ve learned – hard way. Stay tuned.