Charlie Robbins is a CEO. Which means, by his own definition, he’s a boss.
But more importantly, he’s a leader. He leads his company, Nodejitsu, and is a leader in the open source community around the programming language Node.js.
One of the things that struck me as I watched Charlie’s talk about Open Source is that it was all about leadership – specifically, community leadership – and had almost nothing to do with Open Source.
Here are my notes from watching Charlie’s talk:
- Being a “boss” (a.k.a. leader) means you have to deal with feelings, emotions, politics
- People have dreams and aspirations – ignoring them makes people feel unappreciated
- People make the most important choices in their life outside of their “work”
- When people don’t communicate, things break down. But people have a lot of problems communicating among themselves. Effective leadership helps soothe that pain.
- Ask one question: “What do you need to be successful?”
- Communication isn’t a tree, it’s a “graph” (a.k.a. a network)
- How do you push decisions to the “edges” of the graph?
- Make it possible for anybody to be a leader – this requires shared responsibility and participation
- “People have problems. You don’t need to solve all of them.”
- Repeated “policing” is a sign that you’ve done something wrong in creating the community as system
- Create a confederation of “rules” that people can operate within
- You need to figure out what people are thinking, sometimes without being able to ask directly
- Be prepared to teach
- Foster communication around what you are doing, and why you are doing it.
- Strength of mind and character will help you through the mistakes
- “The ability to let things which do not matter truly slide” – Tyler Duren
- “When you do things right, people won’t be sure that you’ve done anything at all” – God to Bender in Futurama