Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On Leadership

Blogging is interesting - so many things to say, all of which can get you in trouble. In a sense, you can convey lots of thoughts - but in a professional environment....

Take leadership for example. One of the things a ScrumMaster concerns himself with is team development, and to a lesser degree team leadership. A wise person would understand that a mix of both is necessary for the betterment of the team members. But may Scrum advocates live so far into the ideals that they can sometimes sacrifice the team to their concepts.

I was listening to an interview from Pollyana Paxton, one of my favorite thought leaders where she explained the highest ideal of leadership in a collaborative environment. But towards the end, she flat out labels Jack Welch as "the worst leader ever". In looking at the statement, and the following clarification (did not provide an environment for collaboration and instilled one of fear) one can see where she would look at Jack this way. But, in our environment (this is AMERICA, many would argue) Jack's method - as cold and cruel as it may seem - yielded results. And this is why a lot of people seek his advice.

In my own experience, a good leader is one that understands the concept of leadership and it's styles - and is able to use them to benefit the team. Personally, my goal is to make sure the members of any team that I am chosen to lead are able to grow professionally, so that we all succeed at the end. Sometimes this is a technical growth, others a simple change in communication or the ability to look outside their silo. This is a personal goal, and has served my projects very well.

In today’s college coaching environment, people are finding that a softer style is preferred over an old school type of approach. The old school is invariable tied to "command and control", and certainly it works (look at Mike Leach). But others, like Mack Brown and others have followed a softer approach for a while - with great results. In this day and age, a leader has to understand what his goal is (team growth, project success, financial gain or personal glorification) and be able to choose the adequate tool to get him there.

As for me - we'll see how it turns out with the "helping your team members grow" thing. I am heavily relying on the fact that Mack Brown is right - but only time will tell!