This post contains the results from the second of two sessions that I facilitated at the Software Test and Performance Conference in Boston. This session was held in the largest of the available rooms, and it we nearly filled it.
I asked the participants to think back to the very best leaders that they had worked with in their QA careers. I pointed out that a leader is not necessarily a manager, as informal leadership can often be very powerful. We then used the Group Wisdom Without Groupthink process to collect and rank answers to the question:
“What separates the most effective leaders from the rest?”
Over the course of an hour, we generated and ranked over 40 answers to this question. These are listed below, in the order that the group ranked them.
Creates an environment of trust
Open to new ideas
Takes blame/Gives Credit
Knows the job (Leading from experience)
Shielding from politics
Can push back to upper mgmt.
Lets me make mistakes
Subtle influencer, “A benevolent manipulator”
Timely, supportive feedback
Works for you first
Ability to get things w/o explicit authority
Walks the talk
Balance team’s needs with business needs
Rolls up their sleeves
Asks open questions
Does the management job
Pursues staff’s interests
Also relevant are the results from these similar workshops:
IEEE Group Answers: “What makes an engineering manager great?”
Bay Area Engineering Managers Support Group (plus ‘Group X’)
These results on retaining key employees seem relevant as well.