Leadership Without A Paycheck

Jennifer Wadella

Jennifer Wadella


  • Director of Angular Development at Bitovi
  • Angular GDE
  • Non-profit founder
  • International Speaker (pre-pandemic)

This talk may contain strong language, harsh truths, and serious passion.

People Don't Quit Jobs - They Quit Bosses

Kansas City Women in Technology

  • 7 years
  • 50+ volunteer team members
  • Countless lessons and mistakes

Lessons Learned Fast

Create clear vision

Create Core Values

How and why your team does things

Explain Your Why

Communicate Early & Often

Connect the Dots

Open Doors of Communication

Notable Leadership Resources

  • 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
  • Servant Leadership
  • Radical Candor

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

John C. Maxwell

1. The law of the lid

2. The law of influence

3. The law of process

4. The law of navigation

5. The law of addition

6. The law of solid ground

7. The law of respect

8. The law of intuition

9. The law of magnetism

10. The law of connection

11. The law of the inner circle

12. The law of empowerment

13. The law of picture

14. The law of buy in

15. The law of victory

16. The law of the big Momentum

17. The law of priorities

18. The law of sacrifice

19. The law of timing

20. The law of explosive growth

21. The law of legacy

Servant Leadership

Robert K. Greenleaf - 1970 essay "The Servant as a Leader."

Servant first - focusing on the needs of others before your own.

Guiding Principles

  1. Listening
  2. Empathy
  3. Healing
  4. Self-awareness
  5. Persuasion
  6. Conceptualization
  7. Foresight
  8. Stewardship
  9. Commitment to the growth of people
  10. Building community

Radical Candor

Kim Scott

Radical Candor chart
Dave Ramsey Entreleadership

Common Threads

  • Humility
  • Self-awareness
  • Influence over authority
  • Intuition & learned experience
  • Importance of growth and autonomy

Strike a Balance in Content You Read

Nothing will teach you better than experience, but having an understanding as scenarios approach you will help.

My Lessons

  • Building a Team
  • Building Trust
  • Building Growth Culture

Building a Team

Pragmatic Interview Process

  • Why do they want the job?
  • What are they hoping to get out of the job?
  • How do they handle conflict?
  • How do they solve hard problems?

Culture Add > Culture Fit

Optimize Onboarding Process

  • Equipment & Tools?
  • Appropriate Access
  • Personnel introductions
  • Documentation of Tribal Knowledge
  • Get personnel as autonomously
    operational as soon as possible.

"It's better to have a hole in your team than an asshole in your team!"

Dan Jacobs

Resist Homogeneity

Understand Motivations

Be Ready for Team Conflict

Beware of value-shaming & toxic positivity

Building Trust

Trust is Hard to Build and Easy to Break

Establish Lines of Communication

Make it clear for how your team can approach you, provide multiple methods.

Get Comfortable Explaining Your Thought Process

"Open Calendar" Policy

In a remote world, open calendar is the new open door policy.

Getting Feedback

You must take feedback AND act on it when possible

Giving Feedback

Tailor feedback method to the individual

Thanks for the Feedback

Set Your Team Up for Success

  • Clear expectations
  • Clear deliverables
  • Clear process

Don't Piss Off Your Engineers

  • Process to document their status without asking
  • Push back against priority switching
  • Help guard team against distractions
  • Get buy-in for deadlines & deliverables

Constant Introspection

  • Is my ego playing into this?
  • Am I letting my values influence my team?
  • What level of responsibility did I have in this?

Understand Job Trauma is Real

Building Growth Culture

Balance Servant Leadership

Know when not to be a "snowplow" parent

Prioritize Allowing Autonomy

Don't Shy Away From Hard Conversations

Address issues as they arise, reports should not hear negative feedback for the first time in reviews or upon disciplinary action

Praise in Public, Criticize in Private

Know There Are Some Battles You Cannot Win

Your Job is NOT to ship Code.

Your job is to empower your TEAM to ship code.


  • Humility
  • Self-awareness
  • Influence over authority
  • Intuition & learned experience
  • Importance of growth and autonomy



Slides available at: leadershipwithoutapaycheck.jenniferwadella.com

Want to join my team? I'm hiring Senior Angular devs. Email jennifer@bitovi.com

@likeOMGitsFEDAY #leadershipWithoutAPaycheck