I loved this question from Marie in the Slack AMA
What’s your best advice for testers who want to have strong leadership qualities?
Bruce came back with an excellent answer which I think all of us could learn from!
My best advice is to check what strong leadership qualities mean for you. Everyone has their own idea about what makes a good leader, and you’ll be happiest and most effective as the type of leader you like and value. That’s what you should aim for, no matter what medium article tells you is a MUST-HAVE trait for leadership.
I like exercises that go something like this, you may have seen them before:
- Write down the names of three leaders you think are great
- Write down the traits those leaders have which made them great
- Write out examples of times they showed those traits
There’s different variations, but you have to find what’s most important to you, and you often see that when you assess the leaders you’ve liked in the past.
It’s much weirder to become a better leader than other skills imo because the skills are so variable, but if you work out what kind of qualities you want to exhibit, then you can break those down into behaviours and keep a journal. I have a behaviour tracker going at the moment for the way that I communicate with the team. At the end of the week I give myself two scores - one for how well I paid active attention in meetings and spoke up/asked questions etc, and one for how I feel I’m progressing at making friends. I write down in the journal (a spreadsheet) notes on times I spoke up and what happened after I did so, too. It might seem silly but it holds me accountable for always presenting my best self. (and my best self is the one who is authentic and has a life-size cardboard cut out of Severus Snape behind my chair and laughs too loudly and makes silly faces at people’s babies in video calls and messages random coworkers asking for photos of their dogs)((cos we are the people who get to decide which bits of us are the best bits, not everyone else))
Also don’t fall into the trap with tracking behaviours or concentrating on times when you didn’t meet your goal etc. It’s too easy to start thinking “I did that wrong, I should have done X” and then end up unhappier than before because you’re constantly not good enough. You’re awesome! Super awesome!! So if you don’t do the extra things, you’re still awesome. It’s just that doing the extra things is extra awesome.
If you try the exercise that Bruce suggested why not what you wrote?