Whenever I’m stuck on a piece of code I can’t get past or take a look at that one user story no one wants to work on or look at the daunting amount of email I have in my inbox I always ask myself that same question…
Can you Lead the Army of One?
This question takes on greater meaning when working with new developers that want to take on leadership roles (whether with people, projects, or code) and I always start off with this – Can you lead yourself?
The knee-jerk reaction always is – “Well I got here today didn’t I, so yeah I can lead myself” (this when we used to travel to offices) or “I ordered lunch for the team, so yeah I got this.”
But those are decisions to get things done and they are routine, you’ve done them before, you know the ups and downs, you know what happens if you screw it up (you’re a bit late, so text or lunch is bad, don’t go there again). But when it’s something new, something you haven’t done before, that’s when you see if you can really Lead that Army of One.
Can you motivate yourself to do the learning required to figure out that problem?
Can you inspire yourself to keep going when you don’t know what the outcome will be?
Will you do more than dip your foot in the water or will you jump right in?
It’s an easy question to ask, a much harder one to answer, and one I struggle with quite often when taking on new challenges.