For myself, I have found it helpful to make a conscious effort to stay hands-on and maintain my technical skills. One way I have done this is by regularly sharing short videos introducing sample python code with the public through a YouTube playlist.
Not only does this help me stay up-to-date with new developments in the field, but it also allows me to stay creative and challenge myself to think about problems in new ways.
In addition to the personal benefits of keeping my technical skills sharp, there are also practical advantages to being able to “ride the horse” as a leader. Having a strong foundation in the technical aspects of my work allows me to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing my team, and to effectively communicate with and support them. It also allows me to be a more credible and effective leader, as I am able to directly contribute to the work being done rather than just overseeing it from a distance.
In conclusion, it is important for leaders to remember the importance of maintaining hands-on skills and not becoming too removed from the practical aspects of their work. As the saying goes, “don’t be a cavalry captain who can’t ride a horse.” By staying grounded in the technical skills that got us to where we are today, we can better understand and support our teams, and continue to be effective and credible leaders in our field.