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Leading by multiplicity

Written November 15, 2007 at 15:56 MST Tagged general

The title for this post comes from a comment that Scott Hanselman made at the Alt.Net conference in Austin. There are two ways that people lead:

In my opinion, the community at large would be greatly enhanced if more of the thought leaders were focused on growing other leaders in the field, as opposed to just adding followers behind them.

I went on a bit of a rant last week in front of my class where I expressed my disgust at the degradation of integrity that I have witnessed over the course of this last year. I am talking about developers and consultants who are out there as thought leaders, who are committing nothing less than career fraud by selling themselves into positions that they are not qualified to be in. With skillsets that they definitely do not possess.

I cannot change these people, they will continue to either make these mistakes and get caught in their own lies (the nets are closing in). Or they will see the error of their ways and make the necessary (often extremely difficult) corrective actions to ensure that they are walking in integrity.

One thing that continually impresses me is the amount of developer talent that is waiting on the sidelines getting ready to express their viewpoints and thoughts on software development with the rest of the industry. These are people who may not yet be regarded as the 'experts', but they are humble, willing to learn and possess extremely critical thinking. All it takes is for one person who can take the time to grow these people as leaders. Once this happens, then these people will most likely go out and do the same thing, start to grow other leaders. This is something that can spark a community (and I'm not just speaking dev in this scenario) in ways that you could not imagine.

I am hoping that I can continue to lead by multiplicity in the areas that I am given that opportunity. With that in mind (and hopefully not putting too much pressure on them) here are some people that I am going to be watching with interest over the next couple of years to see what their impacts on the development community (and for some, the world) will be:

Just so no one feels left out, I have met lots of people this year that I think have the potential to become community thought leaders. The people above are just those people whose blogs I know about. I did not mention the people who are already blogging who have a considerable amount of buzz around their materials already.

If you yourself are in a position of leadership (trust me, we all are in some capacity) I am encouraging you to grow a culture and community of leadership by multiplicity. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that when you lead my multiplication, in one small form, you are leaving one shape of a legacy behind you.