Leading by Example

Leading by Example

Written by: Aaron Rackley on Sun Mar 10

True leaders don't just direct, they inspire! Lead by example in both technical skills and work ethics, and watch your team rise to new heights.

For the first blog post on this site I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the leaders I have encounterd in the past and try to think. What made them good leaders in my eyes.

Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge.

  • Simon Sinek* (2014). Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.

For me the true leaders I have found myself surrounded by are not just managers of people in power, they are individuals who inspire and elevate their teams and peers to unprecedented heights. In my eyes when it comes to technical leadership in software development teams, leading by example isn’t just a phrase ready to be thrown around after hearing about it in a blog or talk, it’s a fundamental principle that can transform a group of individuals into a cohesive and high-performing unit for the business.

Here are just 5 of the many ways in which you can lead by example.

  1. Setting the Tone: Leading by example involves showcasing the behaviour and values you expect from your team by consistently living those values yourself. Be consistent in demonstrating a strong work ethic and dedication to excellence. Whether it’s meeting deadlines, collaborating effectively, or going the extra mile, your actions send a powerful message to those around you. But it is always good to remember that while you encourage these traits it should never be at the end of your individuals having to work constant overtime or through burnout. Balance is key.

  2. Technical Prowess: Technical leadership demands more than just developing technical solutions and delegating tasks. It requires a deep understanding of the technologies and processes your team employs. When you stay up-to-date with industry trends and continuously refine your own technical skills, you show your team the importance of ongoing learning and growth. It is also a great key to remember that you will not have the time to do it all, lean on your team to see what they are learning in the industry to.

  3. Fostering Accountability: Leading by example fosters a culture of accountability. When your team sees you taking responsibility for your decisions and actions, they’re more likely to do the same. This shared accountability creates a sense of ownership and collaboration that can drive projects to success. I would always recommend sharing stories during open conversations about times that you have made mistakes, because remember. We all have made them. This sign of openess to admit your wrong is a great tool in encourgaing the behaviour of your team to do the same. The key is also to remind people that with each mistake, there is an opportunity for growth.

  4. Empowering Others: As a leader, your role is not just to shine but to empower others to shine as well. By nurturing your team’s strengths, encouraging innovation, and providing opportunities for skill development, you create an environment where each member can thrive.

  5. Gaining Trust and Respect: When you lead by example, you earn the trust and respect of your team. Your authenticity and consistency become the bedrock of strong relationships, fostering open communication and a willingness to follow your lead.

What are your thoughts on leading by example. Let me know on X formally twitter. @aaron-rackley