Leadership from the Front

During my senior year of college, my new lacrosse coach arrived with an approach he called “leadership from the front.” For one of his many lessons on the topic, he brought in a former Marine who spoke of the need to experience the roles of the people he was leading.

“If I’ve never shot a machine gun before, how in the world can I lead my gunners to success?” he asked. “If they go down, I need to be able to jump into their role.”

It took me three years to understand the value of this advice.

I had just hired a new CTO for my second startup and tasked him with taking over development from the offshore engineering team. He had an incredible work ethic, but it soon became clear that he was in over his head and that the one computer science course I had taken in college wasn't going to be enough to pull us out.

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