Monday, August 3, 2015

Braxton SL1

Intro: Skip to the last page of the intro.  There are three questions.  The author suggests that if your answer is no to the questions, continuing is a waste of time.  If your answer is yes to each, please also explain WHY you are willing to go through this pain, because it will be painful if you want to truly be a better leader.

My answer to each is yes, and I am willing to go through this as it will not only improve my experience and abilities in robotics, but it will also improve my skills for the future, and having the skills of servant leadership as this book discusses can be very valuable in the future.

Chapter 1: Explain the differences between leaders and managers.  Would product owners and scrum masters be leaders, managers, both, or neither?

The difference between leaders and managers is that when you lead, you inspire and influence people to work together, while when you manage, you're running day-to-day tasks in a company, team, division, etc. Our scrum masters and products owners would be both, managing the tasks of operating and constructing the robot, creating the backlog list, running meetings and planning poker, etc., as well as inspiring, motivating, cajoling, and influencing team members to actually work and make a difference on the team.

Chapter 1: The word "influence" comes up dozens of times in the first chapter.  Why does Hunter keep talking about it?

Hunter keeps talking about influence as  he says that leadership is a personal business, and that a leader is a large part on the lives of those he's leading, the cause of personal development, dinner conversations, likes and dislikes, and more. Therefore, the leader influences those he/she leads, and this emphasis is to drive home this point throughout the chapter.

Chapter 2: What is a legitimate use of power by the leaders of a FRC team?  How often should this be used?

On an FRC team, legitimate use of power is usually just applying pressure on team members laying about and not doing their job in a pinch, however that doesn't really work in the long term. In most situations where power could be applied, it is simply preferable to try to influence lazy workers to do better; late projects (but not too late) are better done by a team, not a hero; and rival designs are better tested than shouted down. Power is good for last-minute situations or as a short term solution, while authority can be permanent and long-lasting if applied correctly, and by the right person. Due to its short term nature, power should be used sparingly and for emergencies, not every day.

Chapter 3: Hunter lists a number of history's greatest servant leaders: Jesus, Ghandi, MLK, and many more.  Name one person who has earned authority over you because of their service in your life.  Give a few concrete examples of what they do that earns them authority over you.

Instead of listing one person, I'll name two: my grandparents. Since we've lived in the same town since 2007, they've helped a lot with raising my brother and I, they've chauffeured us round when we need  ride, they've provided food, a place to stay, advice, and more. 


In this first part of the book, I learned bout the basic principles of servant leadership. I learned about the difference between power and authority, the difference between leading and managing, and the importance of influence in leadership.


  1. I really like what you said about power being short term. It isn't uncommon for it lead to resentment instead of progress, especially if asserted by the wrong person.

  2. You mentioned planning poker in one of your answers. Do you think that this is an effective way to get tasks prioritized?

    1. If we optimize it, yes, but the state we've used it in so far has been a bit...slow. We take too long to do it, but I suppose it still gets us okayish results, as people's voting can be rather uninformed for the more niche tasks. Also, our highest point tasks don't necessarily get done sooner than filler tasks, and we can sometimes have problems with people working on fillers instead of priorities. All in all, planning poker is efficient if we do it right, which we don't.