A Balance Act

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

– Colin Powell

A leaders job is definitely challenging and a little frustrating at times. A good leader is looking out for her team and yet also responsible for responding to requests/demands from those outside her team. It truly is a job that requires balance.

The biggest challenge that I seem to face as a leader is cutting through the issue to really get to the root of the problem. There seems to always be a problem that either ten people are working or no one is working.

Open communication and very clear roles/responsibilities can solve these problems, but in large corporations this can be tricky. There always seems to be a diverse group of stakeholders, all with different objectives and priorities.

My style of leadership starts and ends with trust. I have to be able to trust my leaders to accurately estimate for time and schedule, to work with the teams to make sure the best solution is being pushed forward and to make sure that they not only understand the vision/path-forward but that they are doing the work with the team to move the vision forward.

I don’t like to be micro-managed and don’t see any reason to do this to my team. As professionals, I expect that they will do their job to the best of their abilities, will reach out for help if needed and will pull me in when necessary. Trust is a vital part of leadership!

Finding the balance between trusting your team and understanding the direction being taken at the team level is challenging. As the project manager, I may have a vision for the project but my individual product owners have more influence at the daily level of execution than I do.

I need to balance staying engaged with the teams without really interfering. Not really interference though…. More of balancing the natural creativity and autonomy that happens in the tech industry, while still leading the team in the direction of the overall vision.

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