Learning as Leadership, Another Great SDForum Event

At the SDForum Engineering Leadership SIG meeting this past week, Shayne Hughes presented on “Learning as Leadership.” Shayne started out with the basic proposition that the results we achieve follow from our behaviors which follow from our thoughts. And our thoughts, Shayne argued, are not so much driven by the goals we profess but rather by our egos, which fear vulnerability and desire praise. In short, we are by nature selfish, defensive, and obsessed with self worth.

This “egosystem”, as Shayne called it, is at the heart of many conflicts in the workplace and a is a key impediment to performance. We are held back by conflicts that are more proxy wars for our egos than real differences over what is best for the organization. The answer Shayne proposed is self awareness, empathy for the egos of others, and honest dialogue.

In my work I find that the biggest obstacles to process improvement are not so much technology or methodology but rather the people issues that impede collaboration. And I do not know of any technology or management fad can overcome the constraints of the human condition.

As for myself, I struggle with the foibles of my ego and don’t expect to achieve spiritual enlightenment any time soon. And I can certainly recall times when my mind was spinning with unproductive thoughts of self-pride and wounded ego rather than focusing on how best to solve a problem. So self awareness is probably a good place to start.

Shayne’s presentation was most definitely thought provoking. I recommend checking out the materials on the Learning as Leadership site.


I’m a solution engineer for Shape Security, an awesome web security startup in Mountain View that defends some of the worlds largest web sites from bot attacks. I see this blog as a learning tool. It gives me a chance to collect my thoughts on topics of interest and to share with others. If you see a mistake or think I’m on the wrong track, please let me know. I appreciate comments. See my LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesdowney and follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/james_downey.

Posted in SVForum

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Requests are going to e3067.dscg.akamaiedge.net from my home network through Comcast. 6 days ago
  • Netflix support really not helpful. 6 days ago
  • Strange, Netflix unusable. ERR_SSL_UNRECOGNIZED_NAME_ALERT errors on domain nflxext.com used for JavaScript resources. 6 days ago
  • RT @zackwhittaker: Places where BBC reporters are banned: • 🇷🇼 Rwanda • 🇰🇵 North Korea • 🇺🇸 The White House • 🇮🇷 Iran • 🇿🇼 Zimbabwe 1 month ago
  • RT @ReformedBroker: JFK took a lot of shit in the press for Bay of Pigs. Here’s what he said when asked if he still reads newspapers and ma… 2 months ago
%d bloggers like this: