3 min read

Inside the Vault

Inside the Vault
The Fallout games will always have a place in my heart. All credit to Interplay & Black Isle Studios

A few weeks ago, I sent out a survey to allow you, o reader mine, to tell me what sort of things you wanted me to write about, with the promise that I would do just that.

Someone wanted to know what leadership wants, which is a damn good question, so lets start there.

Also, I'm flying to Sydney this week to get together with my team and I don't have as much time to write as I usually do, so I needed something easy to write about and this feels like a good stream of consciousness style post.

The first thing I'll say to the question of "What leadership wants?", is that it depends.

As far as answers go, that is probably the most frustrating, but also the most true. Different people want different things, and the leadership of any organisation is just people.

I mean, unless you work for robots or aliens or lizards or deities or something I suppose. That's well outside of my area of expertise though, I've only worked for people.

As far as I know.

Anyway, the reality is that if you want to know what your leadership wants, you'll need to do some detective work. Observe what they are saying, observe what they are not saying, observe what they are doing, observe what they are not doing, ask them directly, ask them indirectly, and use all of that information to build up a picture of your own.

Here's the kicker though, and one of the reasons why trying to figure out what leadership wants can be so difficult.

Your leadership is not a cohesive entity. It might be vaguely aligned in the same direction if you're lucky, but it's probably not perfectly aligned.

That means that different elements of that leadership entity want different things, and in order to serve those wants, you'll need to identify which ones take priority over others.

The most pragmatic way to do that? Figure out who has the most actual power over you and the day-to-day work that you're doing and use that information as appropriate.

With the generic (and true!) answer out of the way, lets move into the potentially more interesting bit: personal opinions and thoughts.

For example: I have some experience in being part of leadership, whatever that is, so I can at least answer the question from my perspective.

What do I want?

I want the right things to happen without having to put in an inordinate amount of effort to make them happen.

That's a little vague, so I'll expand.

As a leader, you generally have a vision of some sort about where you want to go and why you want to go there. Maybe you're building a brand-new platform of some sort, maybe you're responding to incoming requests from other people or maybe you just need to keep the existing machinery working.

In all of those cases, you want to be able to set a desired outcome of some sort and be confident that it is going to be achieved.

You don't want to have to delve deep into every little thing to make sure that it is actually happening to the appropriate level of quality and you don't want to have to spend time on unrelated things.

You just want the main thing to happen in a timeframe that makes sense.

That's the main thing that I want anyway, but there are a bunch of other things that I want as well, so I'll just rattle them off quickly here and then move on:

  • I want the people I'm responsible for to be happy
  • I want the things that we're doing to feel like they matter
  • I want to know that if it gets rough, people will have my back
  • I want to have a little fun while I do my job
  • I want to be challenged if I'm being stupid
  • I want people to know when it's time to stop challenging and get on with it

As you can see, I want a lot of things.

I imagine that other leaders probably want a different set of things, which really just reinforces the point I made at the start about how it depends and effort spent understanding your leadership is probably the most important thing you can do.

Maybe I am part of your leadership though, in which case you don't have to do the leg work because I just told you what I want.

And hey, if I'm not part of your leadership at least I got a blog post out of the question and showed that I'm a man of my word.

I'm going to consider that a win.