Programmers work with computers and leaders work with people

When programmers work, the objects they work with tend to be computers.
When plumbers work, they tend to work with pipes.
Carpenters work with wood.
Leaders work with people. People are the objects of leaders’ work. Their tools are conversations—their equivalents of keyboards, wrenches, and saws.
Most professions require thought, planning, and writing those plans out—programmers, plumbers, and carpenters included. After they finish planning and writing their plans, they act by working on the objects of their trade. Leaders do too. Their objects are people.
When chefs train, they learn to use tools like knives. When leaders train, they learn to use tools like conversation, perception, belief, and habit skills. Not knowing how to use perception skills is like a surgeon not knowing how to use a scalpel or a banker not knowing how to use a spreadsheet.
You can’t see these tools like you see a power sander, but that’s what leaders use.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ariel

    Nice post Josh. I would like to respectfully push back in stating that plumbers, surgeons, and all professionals need to communicate and work with people (unless they are a hobbit) and that in addition to wanting the surgeon to be precise with his/her tools the surgeon should along be able to communicate effectively with his/her team and empathetically with his/her patient.

    1. Joshua

      I thought I communicated that everyone does things besides just their work with tools. Everyone has to plan, listen to the customer, take breaks, etc. If not, I meant to. Thanks for clarifying.

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