3 February, 2021
Last week I finished up at M&G plc, after being there for just under two years. I left an engineering team that didn’t exist when I joined, and which has grown incredibly over the last year and a bit. A group of individuals who, among them, have relentless curiosity, skills, experience, and humility. It was a pleasure to clear the path for them while they worked hard to stand up a brand new platform, invent better ways of working, and collaborate with all manner of delivery partners (both internal and external).
As is common of many moments in my management career, I spent a lot of the last year just trying to figure out what I could do to help. Often, I was cursing myself for feeling like I was either not clearing the path for them fast enough, or (worse!) blocking them by not being able to be in enough places at once.
It’s easy, when in the midst of a hectic delivery schedule, to focus personally on my challenges not met, or my obstacles not overcome, rather than on my victories and successes. As the leadership mantra goes: When they win, it’s on them. When they lose, it’s on you.
Which is why it was so nice, in my last week, to have articulated to me exactly what they appreciated most about my time with them: a fresh way of looking at things. When it comes down to it, this is surely the goal of a leader — not to do the work, not to clear the path, not to win the battles, but to provide the lenses for them to see their own paths, plot their own victories, and deliver their own work.
If I’ve managed to do that, to provide a few new lenses, new perspectives, new ways of looking at the world, maybe I can rest easy that it was the right time for me to move on after all.