Leadership Code of Conduct
The Ubuntu Code of Conduct describes the standard for all conduct in the Ubuntu community. Leaders, however, are expected to be held to a higher standard. This document provides a set of guidelines and explains to all members the high standards of conduct that leaders in the Ubuntu community should be held.
There are many, many people who hold leadership positions in Ubuntu—from the leaders of translation teams for specific languages, to the folks who hold positions on our Technical Board and Community Council. Our community depends on the drive and inspiration of many people who start LoCo teams or project teams focused on a particular end goal. We expect anybody who takes on a leadership role to meet this higher standard of conduct.
Leadership By Example
We expect leadership by example. In Ubuntu, leadership is not an award, right, or title; it is a privilege. A leader will only retain his or her position as long as he or she acts as a leader. This means that they act with civility, respect, and trust in the ways described in the Code of Conduct. It also means that their contributions are sustained, significant, and reliable for the period that they lead. Leaders in Ubuntu are not autocrats. Leaders in Ubuntu cannot and will not stay leaders only because they got there first. Their role stems from shared recognition and respect from their team.
Respecting Ubuntu Processes and Principles
The Code of Conduct does not only apply to leaders. It applies to leaders more. Leaders show more patience, more respect, and more civility than other members of the Ubuntu community. As leaders, they represent their team and, ultimately, the whole Ubuntu project. Leaders do their best to reflect the values that Ubuntu stands for and the behaviors that Ubuntu holds as paramount. Additionally, they take care to act in accordance with Ubuntu governance principles and structures and work within the Ubuntu system to change them.
A virtuoso is judged by their actions. A leader is judged by the actions of their team. A leader in Ubuntu knows when to ask for help and when to step back. Good leaders know when not to make a decision but to delegate it to their team. The best leaders balance hard work in the community. Of course, leadership does not mean that leaders delegate unpleasant work to others. Instead, leaders balance hard work on their own—leadership by example—with delegation to others and hard work on their own. A leader’s foremost goal is ensuring that their team members and team succeed.
A good leader does not seek the limelight but aims to congratulate their team for the work they do. While leaders are frequently more visible than their team, leaders in Ubuntu use their visibility to highlight the great work of their team members and others.
Conflicts of Interest
A leader notices when they are conflicted and delegates decisions to others on their team or to other teams or governing councils. When in doubt, leaders publicly ask for a second opinion. They realize that perceived conflicts of interest are as important as real conflicts of interest and are cognizant of perceptions; they understand that their actions are as tainted by perceived conflicts as by real ones.
Keeping the Personal Personal
No team is an extension of its leader’s personality and leaders’ personal feelings and desires will diverge from the interest of their teams. When acting in their capacity of leaders, leaders should not ignore their own beliefs, feelings, and principles but must hold the interests of their team and the Ubuntu community above their own convictions. Leaders make difficult choices but are careful to act in the best interests of their communities. They work with established processes in the community and delegate decisions to others who can.
The Ubuntu Code of Conduct discusses the importance of gracefully stepping down from a position. This is particularly important for leaders who are responsible for decisions or specific processes—for example, if your participation is needed to reach quorum in a team council. If someone in a leadership role does not have time to fulfill their role temporarily, they should warn their team in advance. If an absence becomes extended, the leader should step down from their leadership position until they have more time to follow through. Similarly, leaders should step down gracefully—as described in the Code of Conduct. When someone takes on a leadership position in Ubuntu, they are making a commitment to step down gracefully and to ensure that others on the team can easily continue where they leave off.
Note that this is less important in cases where the leadership role does not “block” decisions while the person is absent. For example, if you are one of a team of 50 list moderators, then an extended absence does not mean you should necessarily step down, because decisions will not be blocked by your not being there. Conversely, if your leadership seat is essential for decisions, then extended absences should be very carefully managed, and you should consider stepping down or at least nominating a stand-in while you will be away.