BLUF: You won’t be able to scale without being able to teach in order to grow.
Becoming a great a leader means that you need to be able to teach. Not teaching anyone about your experiences is a selfish approach to not spread your knowledge and understanding. Jack Welch introduced many to the idea that leaders are teachers.
They have to see their roles as a combination of teacher, cheerleader, and liberator, not controller. – Jack Welch
Teaching team members fosters team communication and imparts a sense of “you know what you are doing” and gives team members a sense of confidence in a leader. We have talked about how you are not going to know everything and you rely on others knowledge and experience to complete projects, but imparting your experiences is key as you are the more than likely the senior leader and have been involved in enough situations to apply past experience.
In my experiences in the military you see senior non-commissioned officers (NCO) that teach brand new lieutenants the ways of the force. These NCOs have over a decade of experience in the military. I had multiple NCOs during my time on active duty that pointed out my many flaws and showed the right way to execute. You rely on your NCOs more than anyone else when you are a young lieutenant My one caveat is that you cannot rely on every NCO to point you in the right direction. Always apply common sense when choosing those that you want to be your inspiration in your career and life.
Everything that you teach your team are small dividends that you are investing back into your culture. If you have teaching points and not demand points, then you allow your team to learn from the past and filter those experiences in order to provide a more productive environment in the company. Give them the leeway to make their own mistakes and learn from those, so that they can pass on experiences to the new guy.
I keep going back to this book – Jack Welch: Winning. This is one of my top books to read to learn how to be a understanding leadership and learn how the people you are leading will make you great and that you need to take care of them.
I do think there are issues in the OSS community for those new developers that are trying to get involved with projects. If you are the one making snarky comments about a pull request or make the commit so complicated that no one wants to put aside a week of free time to fix a label misspelling, then you need to take an inner look at what you are trying to accomplish and if it is truly open source. Yes OSS projects are “free” libraries to help out others, but open source also means that others have the possibility to help if you give them the platform and culture that allows for that help to emerge. It takes more than just adding a tag that says “newbie” or “low hanging fruit” to get people to help out. If they have questions or look lost, then don’t chastise them, guide them.