I’m visiting San Diego for GraphQL Summit. So I’m writing this from a hotel room. I think I panicked on the first day of the conference; perhaps I’ve been away from people for far too long. Being a shy extrovert is always an exciting experience, not one dull day.
But I’ve been thinking about this topic as I tackle more and more problems. Or become assigned as “lead” of something. I’m still learning the ropes of what it means to choose impact as a priority or having leverage.
As I’m included in more “rooms,” as we like, I’ve felt pressure, on my admission, to keep doing what I was doing and more. That meant stretching myself very thin, and I’ve regretted it for the most part. There’s only so much work to be allocated in the working hours, and moving into rooms with more senior leadership, the expectation of what I bring in and out of the room is less about “closing tickets” or pushing code.
I’ve been burned a few times with the realization that the more work I take doesn’t make me a better leader. Tackling every possible problem (or fire) doesn’t make me more “worth it” or dependable.
I need to constantly re-calibrate to internalize that what I’ve been doing won’t get me to the next level. It feels hard to stop and think about this situation, but it needs to be ingrained in how to keep choosing impact and leverage to drive the tasks I tackle. There are more significant battles to tackle as we go up and wide. We have to keep choosing what will positively impact the organization at large.
We always want someone else to grow and take some of the work we no longer manage to put in our schedule or no longer makes sense within our backlogs. While it might not be the first for me, it will help another person grow into these opportunities and learn what is happening in the next room.
Also, delegation helps escape an operation. I’ve often seen people leave only to have lost context, and new decisions take place without that context.
As we think of our career in 40 years, we need to consider making it sustainable and not burning ourselves in pursuit of things that might not be within reach. I’ve seen multiple people burn out, and I’ve probably burned out at least once. It’s hard to come back the same.
We need to understand how to help the organization were responsible for, but also learn not to take everything into ourselves to fix, solve, or lead. We also need to empower others, set them up for success, and watch them grow to grow ourselves as well.
That’s all for this week. Happy coding!