on leadership

IT is probably fun to work in because you're working with a bunch of folk that are pretty much successful because they're good at finding patterns in stuff, and then finding solutions that address problems that look just like that.

And that works really well for writing software.

And only works so well for running teams. Truth be told, it works really well for the aspect of actually managing a team. But not for leading one. Let's go.

Managing and Leading are two different things. Two almost entirely different things. This here is my definition, but since it's my blog, I do make the rules.

Management is the easy one. You're given a set of objectives (deliver those two projects), some resources, like a team or money, and you go. To a large extent, managing a software team comes down to understanding what has to be done, finding good ways to doing the work from a technological point of view, and then executing on it. It's here where frameworks like Scrum come in handy, as they formalize a lot of helpful practices to running a healthy team - like plannings, retros and creating transparency about upcoming work. Valuable things.

Leadership is different. Where Management refers to the act of distributing work, managing resources and observing KPIs, Leadership is inventive in its nature.

I was lucky enough to have worked with some really outstanding leaders, and the one dominating trait was that they come up with ideas all the time. And they have the skill required to shape those ideas into things that can be delivered or built by their organization.

And those ideas are the direction. How well the organization executes is the speed, but you can have a thousand horse powers, that's not helping you if you're clueless in regards to the direction of travel.

Those skill sets are complementary. Having great ideas is useless without the right skill to execute, and being great at executing is useless without executing on the right things.

To tie the loop back to the beginning - there's no process, no algorithm and no step-by-step guide that can replace competent leadership at the right position. You can't refine, groom or discuss your way out of a void of ideas, of a surrounding that doesn't dare to think big, and then even bigger.

What stands out to me is that, looking back, the most challenging times were those when we built something that felt almost impossible. Crazy ideas turned to reality. Those were also the most rewarding ones. That required, of course, an engineering team building something, but even more than that: bold leadership.

ideas are momentum