In the last couple of months, I was thinking a lot about leadership.
It was not some deliberate targeted effort, it was more unplanned and it just naturally happened. I think the root cause for that was the fact, that I realized the difference between a “manager” or worse a “career manager” and a “leader”.
I am surrounded, more or less closely, by some exceptional leaders like David DeWolf, Scott Varho, Filip Zednicek, and many others. That sparked my curiosity, and I wondered how could I start working to become a leader like those role models in the future.
I started to ask myself questions like:
- What does it mean to be a leader?
- What do I expect from a leader?
- What would anyone expect from a leader?
- Is it a more natural skill or something you can learn?
- Are extrovert people better suited to become leaders, or can introverts lead with success?
And many more questions like that…
I wanted to start acting more like a leader, while not being a manager.
And I believe that the ground truth I was desperate to discover was the answer to this idea:
After I realized that, I had to ask myself:
How could I do that, not being a manager with a team, but just an ordinary individual contributor?
The first answer to that question I could find was this, and I will use it as an example:
I heard something about a “coding dojo”.I started wondering how great it would be to throw one for my colleagues?
That obviously needed some plan. I will try to describe to you, how I proceeded and what next steps I have in mind to give this activity really outsized impact.
Step one – research.
I went online and read anything reasonable I could find about coding dojos. How to organize those events, what works and what doesn’t. It took me quite some time, but I learned a lot and had a clear idea of how to throw the first event.
(a little spoiler – I successfully organized two coding dojo events already and I will add some articles about it soon)
Step two – start small and get help.
Once I had a clear vision for the first session, I decided it would be good to get some help and I asked two colleagues of mine to facilitate the session with me.
I booked the conference room, send out the invites, and advertised the session a little bit on our internal chat.
People are visual creatures so I prepared fancy-looking slides in company colors to help us facilitate the session, explain the “game rules” etc.
Step three – learn&scale up
I learned a lot from the feedback on the first session and decided that it would be great to turn the one-time event into something regular. This is going well as it seems that people really like it (we have like 70% attendance rate) and it is transforming into a regular once in two months event.
Step four – scale up again
This is a planned step that I am trying to make happen right now.
I was wondering – how to scale it further up?
So I am preparing a “How to throw your local coding dojo” portal with all the information, motivation, etc. for the whole organization. I want to also do some online sessions to motivate people. (which will be challenging).
If this will be a success (And I strongly believe in it) the impact will be huge.
Much bigger than I initially thought.
So, to wrap up on the topic of “Everyday Leadership”:
I believe that anybody can act as a leader – it’s all about stepping up and influencing the people around us in a good way.
I call it “everyday leadership”.
You can start small.
You can scale it up.
You don’t need to be a manager to act as a leader.
Just think, what could I do for people around me to help us all be a little bit more successful as a team.
For me, leadership is not about my personal satisfaction – in fact, sometimes you need to put your pride aside to be a better leader – because, in the end, it’s not about you.
It’s about the team.
Hope it makes at least a bit of sense and thanks for reading.
I am keen to hear from you.
Programmer, tech enthusiast, and storyteller. Don’t hesitate to contact me 🙂