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Joyful technical leadership

Your technical skills may be eroding, you might miss the thrill of coding, but you feel better than ever.  How?

You learned that wholehearted leadership is an act of creation.

When we stop coding, we feel a sense of loss.  I missed creating something awesome; something I was proud of.

When you lead with your whole heart, you get back to the business of creating.

  • You create a workplace where people can talk, instead of hiding.
  • You create a team that learns, instead of shaming.
  • You create a programmer who knows you have their back.
  • You create an environment of options, instead of prescriptions.

Managing with your whole heart isn’t easy.  It requires becoming a REAL manager; a REAL leader.

I think the classic children’s book, the Velvateen Rabit, says it better than I can:

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Real leadership brings the joy of creation.  It’s not how you are made, but it’s a thing that happens over time.  By the time you get there, you might have a bit less hair and loose joints, but it’s worth it because your team loves you.  And then they’ve also found joy in working for you.

Take heart in the fact that you don’t break easily, don’t have sharp edges or have to be carefully kept.   Take heart because the work of creation will be worth it, even if it seems like the work never finishes.  Don’t give up; you’ll get there, I promise.

About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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