‘Iacta alea est’
Before any of you get the wrong idea, the only type of scrum I’ve ever been involved with is the one on the rugby pitch, in the front row.
In yesterday’s post I shared how five of my colleagues recommended me for a position above them, even “leapfrogging” some of them in the hierarchy.
The following says as much about the heart of a developer as it reinforces my point in do the work. One of the colleagues who co-authored that recommendation, upon having read my post, shared this with me earlier today:
I remember when we wrote this
Nobody wanted that position. You sacrificed yourself.
We knew you were the only one who would do this.
Thanks a lot!
It made me think that the principle shared yesterday:
Do not be haughty, but give yourselves to humble tasks.
is nothing other than the servant leadership espoused and lived out by Jesus:
And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
Serve to lead. Serving others by doing the dirty work qualifies you to be their leader. This is the complete opposite of how we think. We think getting someone else to do the dirty work qualifies us to be their leader.
In my scenario, my colleague is still grateful four years later. Not only was I prepared to do the dirty work under them, but I was also prepared to do the dirty work above them.
In software, there is a lot of dirty work. Either in the depths of the engine room or at the “heights” of dealing with suits at the business end. Most developers want to be nicely positioned in the middle.
It’s my job to make that a reality.
At ClubCollect it gives me the greatest pleasure to lay aside what I might accomplish as an individual in favour of creating the environment for my colleagues to do the best work of their careers.
I don’t always succeed, but studies show that this mode of servant leadership, of competence in a subordinate’s field, and a willingness to do the dirty work is a crucial factor in the success of remote teams where other more traditional leadership characteristics do not play such a central role.
Who are the best bosses that you have served under? What were the characteristics that made them “the best”? What traits would you like to imitate were you to step into their role?
—Monday 12th April 2021.