The Leadership Wake

Everything is going well until it’s not.

But all the signs were there from the beginning…

  • Jack and Sara were always butting heads over syntax and format but everyone thought it was harmless banter until they started yelling at each other in a meeting.
  • Jeff never complained about having to write test cases when the product, but now that the product has grown he can’t keep up, quality is dropping and everyone is blaming him.
  • The development team is working to be as agile as they can, but requirements are changing a few days before the sprint is over.
  • At the daily scrums, everyone shows up, but no one really discusses their issues.  It’s more motions than action.

Does any of this sound familiar?

If you were to look at each of these items individually you might initially think – “a few hiccups, but overall, we’re still delivering, we’re still shipping code, we’re still coming together as a team”.

Only you’re not.

That code you’re shipping is the wake of what’s left of when you had a team focused on working together that was not getting mad at you, or when your QA team could handle the load with a little extra umphhh or when requirements weren’t delivered but instead were collaborated on.

These are all the signs that are starting to show themselves and you’re running out of the Leadership Wake.

What’s the Leadership Wake?

Think of a speedboat going through the water, the wake that immediately comes from the boat is strong and powerful and carry you on.  If the boat stops, what’s left is a little bit of wake that can carry you on for a bit before you eventually sink.

The goal then is to keep that boat going and keep that wake strong.


All those little pernickety issues raised above, those are issues that start to slow down your boat and turn what was once a strong wake until a weak one where infighting starts, people are overloaded and overall velocity starts to slow down.

But when you’re driving a boat, it’s hard to see all the little things that could be slowing you down until they hit you hard.

What started off as witty banter back and forth as slowly escalated into full-on screaming matches.

What people were able to run with on their own time and time again they are now feeling burnt out, tired and unsure of what to do next.

Your job is to keep your wake strong, to see these issues, these symptoms before they become full-on problems that threaten the cohesiveness in your team.

Looking for a way to keep your wake strong or figure out areas you could level up in?  Schedule a 15-minute call with us, we’re here to help you get better.

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