#7 - Intentional Technical Leadership

Newsletter - Saturday, 21 May 2022

Good morning my friend!

Welcome to this week's issue of the Intentional Technical Leadership newsletter.

This week I've got some big news! 😱

I've taken a week of holiday because I left my role as an Engineering Manager at Beacon last Friday. Having a week off has given me some time to reset and gather my thoughts before starting a new role.

I'm incredibly sad to leave my old team behind but I know I've left them in great hands. 😭

I spent a lot of time ensuring that I had a handover document for each person on my team. It documented their strengths and growth opportunities that we'd discussed in our 1:1s. I ensured that each team member was happy with what I'd written before giving it to the new Engineering Manager. Even though I'm no longer at the company, I wanted to ensure continuity and future opportunities for them all.

I'm incredibly excited to reveal that I start my new role as a Senior Engineering Manager at Netlify next week.

I absolutely ❀️ Netlify and use their services at least 3 or 4 times per week as I update my various websites.

I'm really looking forward to meeting my new team and learning more about how they work and how I can help them to grow. I can't wait to help to lead teams that are building the future of the web.

But back to the newsletter!

Here's another curated list of interesting articles that I've found this week. Enjoy!

πŸ”– Interesting Reading

The 3 Ascending Levels of Leadership Success | Leadership Freak

This is a short article but shares some good tips on climbing the ladder to become a successful leader.

Being a better leader comes from your ability to unlock the best in others. Sharing your knowledge and finding opportunities for the strengths in others will see you go far.

How to Move Your Team Toward Async-First Communication

As somebody who has tried to enable remote-first ways of working over the past 7 years, I love reading about new ideas to make remote work better.

This fascinating article shares thoughts on async-first ways of working that I'm not always as familiar with. It's not about eliminating face-to-face interactions, but more about enabling purposeful meetings through written as well as verbal communication.

A great read!

Bad engineering managers think leadership is about power

This is an interesting article which discusses how leaders should develop their teams. I love this quote about micromanagement:

Leaders who attempt to make processes for their software development team quickly notice that the work of the team evolves so quickly that the process is irrelevant in a quarter.

I subscribe to the idea of "servant leadership" where a leader's role is to enable their team to do their best work. This is through listening and learning and finding opportunities for your team members to grow.

Mistakes I've Made as an Engineering Manager | CSS-Tricks

I followed Sarah Drasner, the Director of Engineering for Web @ Google, on Twitter for many years and I love her writing.

Being a manager is tough and your mistakes impact people, and that feeling of pressure can be isolating.

In this article, she shares the mistakes she's made as an Engineering Manager. It's hard to share your struggles and I love it when people in leadership are honest and open.

We all make mistakes from time to time and we should be kind to ourselves and acknowledge that.

If you're just getting into a leadership role, make sure you read this.

Should I write a Manager README?

I'm changing role next week and I've previously read some blog posts suggesting that managers should write a README document, or "user guide" for how they work.

This article shares a bit more about what they are and why they can be a bad idea. It's an interesting read that shares both the positives and negatives of writing one.

There's a great quote linked from this article from Camille Fournier, a revered technical leader and the author of "A Manager's Path". She shares her view on manager READMEs.

If you want to build trust, you do that by showing up, talking to your team both individually and as a team, and behaving in an ethical, reliable manner. Over, and over, and over again. You don’t get it from writing a doc about how you deserve their trust.

πŸ‘‹πŸ» One From Me

Gain confidence at public speaking

I now love giving talks and speaking in public but pre-2013 I would panic at the thought of giving a presentation to more than a handful of people.

In my article, I share my journey to becoming a more confident public speaking after spending years of being incredibly shy.

Take some notes and I hope it helps you to realise that it can be easier than you think.

🌢️ Hot Take

Never cancel a 1:1 | Cate

Never cancel a 1:1

This is a great tweet thread about whether a manager should cancel a 1:1 with one of their team.

Surprisingly for Twitter, there is some thoughtful discussion in the replies that talk about the power dynamics of a manager and your commitment to your team.

I personally hate cancelling 1:1s but sometimes others don't look at your calendar before putting in meetings. I will try to not move the 1:1 but if I do, it will be rescheduled for the later in the day or week.

What do you think? Is it ok to cancel 1:1 meetings with your team members?

I hope you enjoyed this week's selection of intentional technical leadership articles.

Hit reply and let me know what you think.

Feel free to send me any interesting articles or podcasts you've found too.

Have an amazing week and be excellent to each other!

Speak to you soon,

Soon to be a Senior Engineering Manager @ Netlify

P.S. I'll be at the Headless Commerce Summit in London on 23rd-24th May 2022. If you're there, come and say hello!

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