Someone once said "If serving is beneath you, leadership is beyond you."
I've started to make a shift in my design roll at Charter and my approach to how I want my team to function. I used to view the leader as someone who helped remove obstacles from his team, who empowered and inspired his/her team, who managed what work was important, and who protected there team. I still believe that, but I've found there is another aspect that I believe is important. The actual work.
I can't lead by example very well if I'm not participating in the day to day work. I can't relate as well to my team if I'm only focused on the leadership aspects and management and not actually "in the trenches" like they are. It's a difficult and stressful balance thus far, but ultimately I believe it's the right way forward and I hope brings more mutual trust between all members of my team as well as more direct insite to the challenges they face. As a side bonus, I believe our work capacity will be hire and all members of the team will have more time to contribute to more of the fun long term initiatives since we're all helping with the day to day stuff.
Always learning more and finding new ways to approach problems, and I expect this too will evolve, but I'm excited to roll up my sleeves and do more actual design work. No leader should feel that they are "too good" to do the work of the people that they manage.
One of the people whom I respect the most regarding leadership is John Maxwell, and he said this - A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
Ive seem plenty of smart people in leadership positions stop at the first part, "knowing the way". Some good leaders who can effectively communicate and "show the way", but it's been rare to find truly great leaders who do all of them together.
Im blessed to be in a position in life to learn from a ton of great leaders around me and I intend to take advantage of that as much as possible as well as pass that along to others.
So go do, then lead!