A Coder’s Thoughts On Leadership

Are you someone who loves to code? I am. It’s interesting being the type of person that is obsessed with the inner workings of the things around them. Someone who stares at the universe around me and just sits there in awe of the complexity that exists without an ounce of human intervention. There’s such a wealth of information out there and yet so little time to absorb it all. What happens when your ability to learn all of those things gets stolen by needing to teach others how to learn the things you’ve already explored…? You learn more than you could ever imagine, including how to truly lead and inspire those around you each and every day.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” (John F. Kennedy)

Falling In Love With Happiness

I’ve always loved to be the person that gets to learn endlessly day after day, I’m sure your interest in my writing so far implies that you identify strongly with that as well. Life is a very interesting game of perspective isn’t it? It’s so very important to understand that life has the full potential to be horrendous and wonderful at the same time, simply based on your perspective. I could complain about the horrendously loud coffee grinder at Starbucks while writing this article, or I could be overwhelmed with the wonderful fact that I can comfortably relax in a public setting with music surrounded by the beauty of life hidden in the smiles on the faces around me. Please, for your sake, be the latter. I’ll give you cookie points if you smile and add a moment of joy into your atmosphere. How does this all relate to leadership? In order to lead, you must inspire those around you with your patience, kindness, and humility. I’m still learning how to do these things, but here are a few of my thoughts.

Be Patient By Accepting Failure

Before anything else, you must learn to be patient. Patience will help you build the strength you need to be of any use as a leader. You’ll need a lot of patience when dealing with those who have not yet learned the things you’ve learned through experience. I often need to remind myself that my experience has subjected me to more mistakes than I can ever hope to count and that those mistakes have shaped me into the person that I am today. Do not shelter those around you from making mistakes, embrace them as a stepping stone of progress and inspire those around you to explore fearlessly. Failure is an inevitable part of life, support people when they fail so that you can be there to celebrate with them when they succeed.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” (Thomas Edison)

Every time we turn on a light, we are inadvertently celebrating the ten thousand failures it took for the one success that changed our lives forever. I urge you to build the patience necessary to endure through failure, learn from those failures, and kick some ass with the new wisdom you’ve acquired because of it. A failure in it of itself will not kill you; accepting a failure as your only reality, will…

Show That You Care By Listening Closely

Learning to listen is a sure way to earn the trust and respect of those around you. Did you know that in every moment of your life, you know something that those around you do not? The very first thing to we need to learn is that the same truth applies to those around you and that your number one goal should be to learn from those around you. When the time is right you will discover that people will naturally gravitate towards you to learn all of the things that your listening has taught you. A sure way to gain wisdom is to be quick to listen and slow to speak. In other words, allow those you are teaching to share their insights and truly absorb them before you begin to provide your perspective so that you can cater to their needs. I promise you that this is a very, very, hard thing to do. However, I also promise you that by doing this you will gain the trust and respect from those you intend to lead as they will feel heard and cared for. The only way to solve any problem is to truly understand it, and the only way to truly understand the it is to take a moment to listen and challenge your own assumptions to gain a crystal clear view of what you’re solving.

Lead With Your Humility

I’ve learned that humility is surprisingly simple and enjoyable thing to have. It starts with giving credit for all great things you’ve done to someone that helped you do it and by taking blame for the faults that arise from those achievements. Why? Because it challenges those who receive the credit and avoid the blame to have someone to model after when it comes to stepping up to the plate of humility. Naturally this will take time to grow those around you, but everyone will eventually become better because of it.

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” (Nelson Mandela)

My only goal in every area of life has been to push forward with what I strongly believe to be right, while seeking the honest feedback of those around me to correct my path should I wander in a direction that leads me to be ineffective. I value the opinions of those who have gained my trust and I strongly believe that their outside perspective is one of the most invaluable treasures in this world and that I should fight to understand the world from their eyes.

Final Thoughts

If you ever get the chance to become a leader, please remember to be kind, patient, and humble. I’m still working on all of those things, and becoming a leader makes it a daily challenge; but I will continue to try to improve on these things as they’ve become my new hunger, my new ambition, my beautiful opportunity to learn new things. Always try to remember the naive person that you once were. Take notes, write in a journal, keep a voice log. Remember that those around you who make seemingly simple mistakes, are for the most part the same person you were in the past. Love them, as you were loved, so that they can become great, as you’ve become great. Thank you for reading this article and being patient with any mistakes you may have found along the way.