Agile · Effectiveness · Leadership · Principles

Types of leaders

I wrote a blog post earlier this month (which you can find here) about focusing on people, process, and products.  Here I want to add some brief comments about the fact that different types of leaders are motivated by these three different focus areas.

Some leaders are passionate about products.  I see many of these folks in my role as a product owner.  Product leaders care deeply about the direction of their products; they think about product strategy, development and release plans, testing and support issues, and the competitive landscape.

Others are passionate about process.  These leaders are excited to think about Agile methodology (or Lean or other approaches); they care about best practices and they want to make sure the team follows a process that works well.

Still other leaders are most passionate about people.  These folks want to develop a strong team that works well together; they care about investing in their team members and believe that growing a strong team will lead to an effective process and a strong product.

Each of these three areas deserves focus, and different people want to lead in different areas.  I’ve worked with strong leaders in each of these areas and learned a lot from them.  For me, I get most excited and motivated when thinking about leading people; I care about developing a strong product and I have deep convictions about effective and sub-optimal processes but what truly energizes me is thinking about developing people.

Leaders in all three areas are important; in truth it’s not as simple as focusing on only one of these three places.  But while I push myself to provide leadership in the areas of product and process, I happily plunge into people development and team leadership whenever I have the opportunity.


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