I had to learn the hard way that I am not supposed to touch the stove when it’s on. Come on, ask me how I got to know it. Please.
No, I’m not going to walk you through that painful experience. The most valuable lesson that I learned that day is that nobody knows better than me how badly it hurts when you touch a hot stove, therefore I won’t touch it again. Or how John Locke named this in the 17th century, Empiricism.
Empiricism, according to Locke, states that all current knowledge that we possess today is nothing more than the sum of our past experiences.
Through Empiricism, I learned how to work with/for both balanced people and less balanced people. Worked with people who told me “you’re not payed to think”, but also for people who told me “although I am a manager, you are the one leading me”. Some told me “please, I need help in customizing this framework”, others said “well it’s my way or the highway”. Some said “thank you!”, while others said “@#*^ $£# !”
This doesn’t mean that I’ve always been happy about the situation I was in. Yes, it is a job. Yes, a job pays rent and provides food. But I’m not one of those who think that I shouldn’t afford the “luxury” of following my emotions and feelings, to challenge situations and to want more. Something more rewarding, like humanity.
Oh, speaking of Empiricism, one of my favorites reads out there is the Agile Manifesto. It’s a simple document with a very powerful message, it shows that there can’t be perfect things in your life without having less than perfect things around you. I wouldn’t be the same person if I wouldn’t have experienced both “hell yeah”s and “mmm…ok”s, and neither would you. It’s a scale which shows us which are the things we should pursue and which are the things we need not to forget.
How does the story about leadership skills blend with empiricism and the Agile Manifesto you ask? Well, starting from my past experiences, I drew the portrait of what a good Leader looks like. I used the manifesto approach to make it easier for me to paint it and for you to better understand how he/she looks like. It goes like this:
“Creating a vision over creating goals
Embracing change over maintaining the status quo
Being unique over copying
Taking risks over controlling risks
Long term commitment over short term commitment
Seeking personal growth over relying on existing skills
Building relationships over building processes
Coaching and mentoring over managing and directing
Creating fans over creating resources”
The statements written in bold are meant to reflect that they bring more weight but it doesn’t mean they have to exclude the 2nd half of it. It’s a clear guideline of traits you have to pursue, if you don’t want to have people around saying “ugh, i’m here in the office, stuck with this guy again“. You have to be aware of the fact that the Team makes you and that they can also break you.
It’s up to you how you choose to tip the scale in your favor. I have already given you the recipe. I know that it is very very tempting to touch the stove, but you have to know that it’s very painful. I know how curiosity works. We work by having a strict relationship between punishment and reward. Trust me, this is the recipe for reward, focus on it. Eyes on the prize.
All you have to do is remember: be nice, have empathy, listen. Be human