In my work, you are either on the technical track or the management track. As a tech lead, you only manage your boss and your teammates, other tech people. But as a manager, you need to manage people much more and attend to non-technical issues such as project timelines, cross-team functions, etc. So leadership takes a broader and non-technical form.
The Leadership Edge used a lot of different approaches to teach us to be effective leaders, to discover our own leadership style, but I loved the role-playing sessions the best. I realized that as a leader I should be facilitating more, encouraging and inspiring the people in my team to participate and bring their best game. After all, that was the true strength of the team, and that was how we would succeed. That was quite an unexpected personal insight. For me, the role-playing somehow made the learning much more real. And so the realization that came off it had longer lasting effect.
Another brilliant aspect of the program was the communication portion. Not only do you realize what kind of person you are — direct, systematic — you also learn how to figure out what kind of person others are. When you know others’ communication style, you become tolerant of things, can make the conversation more effective. How to read expressions, reading to see if people are getting bored. You can steer yourself on your visual cues. These are definitely great takeaways for anybody in the professional world.
By far, the best part of the program was the people. At the first breakfast I sat down with participants who were Special Ops, Navy SEALs, and ex-CIA agents. I only see these kinds of people in the movies! They have a different outlook, perspective.
Though I wasn’t sure how the program would apply to my current job, I find myself applying the communication tools, the managing peers skills that I learned. As long as we’re working with people, we have the opportunity to lead people.”
Joy Ghosh, PhD
Senior member, technical staff, VMware, Palo Alto, CA