Chapter 4: How Leaders Develop
(This is part 4 in a series of posts where I document my progress through reading Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Problem-Solving Approach by Gerald Weinberg, answering the questions at the end of each chapter)
1. Do you have some skill that you have improved over a long period of time?
“Can you plot your progress, and can you apply your methods of learning to that of learning to be a better problem-solving leader?”
I guess programming is the best I can do here. The method, so far, has mostly been solving real-world problems. Applying the same methods for learning leadership would require actually trying to be one. Sure, it’s possible. But we’ll have to wait a while to see if I’ll do that or not. Then again, the question was can you, not will you.
2. Can you describe a plateau you are now occupying?
“Are there signs that you may be approaching the ravine [the drop in skill just before a rapid rise to the next plateau]? Are you trying to stay out of the ravine, or learn what you can from tumbling in?”
I write reasonably good code, and I have a good overall grasp on the landscape of programming. However, I still haven’t managed to do anything properly with functional programming, because it’s damn hard. That’s a ravine right there. I’m actually trying to leap in, but I get tired of it fast, and eventually quit.
3. How long has it been since the last time you climbed to a new plateau?
“Are you still enjoying the feeling of being on the flat? What are you doing to get ready for the next one?”
The plateaus, ravines and sharp climbs in my progress seemed to come in two-year cycles in the beginning. I’ve been doing this for ten years, but the last time I observed a sharp increase was about four years ago. So either I’ve been on the same plateau for four years, or I’ve been paying less attention to the change.
I’m trying to study Computer Science, to brush up on the theory behind the practice. That’s my number one strategy for preparing.
4. In the course of your life, what have you learned about learning?
Learning requires intense focus, passion and a tough skin to tolerate the constant failing. It’s also a lot of work.
5. Set yourself some personal achievement that you can practice for fifteen minutes every day for a week.
“Keep a record of your progress. Next week, pick another achievement.”
I’ve been practicing the guitar riffs to HIM’s cover of Wicked Game. Now I’m going to try to sing and play at the same time. 🙂