I once met a mentor of mine over some hummus. He’s one of the best engineering leaders I know — he truly takes care of his engineers and you can feel it. That day, he gave me the best advice I’ve ever received on leadership.
I was about to start in a leadership role at a new team. The expectations were large, and I was nervous about being able to deliver at that kind of scope, right off the bat.
So, I asked him what he would do.
He said, you only need to ask one question:
How can I help?
Come in, with a low ego, and ask — how can you help? How can you make the people around you more productive? What problems are they facing and how can you take some of them off their plate?
That’s the essence of leadership. The rest is table stakes