So much of what is written about leadership is hogwash. There's no recipe to follow. It starts with you and a belief in yourself. A belief in new possibilities. A belief in your abilities to make changes in the world, and an appreciation that you can't do it all on your own!

All you need to know about leadership you learned when you were a kid. Cast you mind back to a sunny afternoon hanging out with friends with nothing to do. You see the football out in the yard. "What about a game?" You look around at your pals. "Aren't you bored? Come on it'll be fun. Let's go!" If they follow you out to play, you experience a moment of elation, momentarily you are a leader. And if they don't like the idea? Their apathy makes you feel a twinge of rejection.

Being a leader starts with thinking about new possibilities and building your ability to turn them into reality. It can be scary to share your ideas because you face rejection. The alternative is self-censorship rejecting your own ideas without sharing them. Sitting on your ideas and going along on with other people's plans when you have a better alternative feels bad.

You need courage to make things happen. Build confidence by starting small and staying in your comfort zone. As you start to make small successful changes, you'll find change becomes addictive. Your sense of power over the world grows and your fears diminish.

When you have bigger changes in mind, you'll need to get other people on board. People will not naturally follow you. You have to create an appealing vision of a shared reward to carry people along. You don't have to be a great salesman. Put yourself in their shoes. What problems will be resolved? What will they get out of it? Be open about your hopes and fears - you're seeking their help to make this happen.

When you lead, care about how you get there. People have to feel safe enough to try something new. What can resources you offer to help them? If you have expertise then be prepared to share it. Provide some protection by creating some structure around group interactions. Structure helps keep energy focused on the goal, minimizes confusion, and in-fighting within the group. You don't have to figure out everything in advance, just enough to make a start.

So how does any of the above apply to being a technical leader on an agile team? The key to successful leadership lies in your state of mind. To instill confidence in others, you have to believe in yourself and want change. To believe in yourself, practice at making changes and build up your skills so you'll be ready and prepared to lead. Finally, you have to care for the needs of your team, you can't lead anywhere without their support!