#12 - Intentional Technical Leadership

Newsletter - Saturday, 25 June 2022

Aloha my friend!

Happy Saturday! 🎉

Welcome to another issue of the Intentional Technical Leadership newsletter.

How has your week been so far? I hope it's been great!

This week I've been getting deep into my team's work to understand where we are, and what we need to do next. Setting priorities can be a bit of a challenge when there are too many things to do, but writing out some ideas for ways of managing them has been really interesting and challenges the team and I to understand what's important.

🔖 Interesting Reading

11 Principles of Engineering Management

This is the best article I've read this week. 🙌🏻

Alan Johnson, an Engineering Manager at Better.com, shares a really solid list of principles that align with my style of management.

There are some key tips for building a positive engineering culture by taking accountability for it and empowering your team to do their best work.

Please check this article out if you're looking to improve your skills or if you want to get into engineering leadership.

How to grow your impact beyond your team

As I help to build and grow the careers of my team, I often talk about the impact as you increase in seniority. The "blast radius" of your work is much bigger for a senior engineer than for a junior.

This article by Pat Kua shares some solid ideas for how you start to make change beyond your own team. This works for both individual contributors or technical leaders and will help you or your team to grow.

How to manage up in your team: Six steps for success

One of the key success criteria of an engineering leader is how they "manage up".

Your job is to help your team to work well and grow but you have to support your own boss and the company's goals too. This is where you need to think about managing up.

This is a great post showing how you can help to influence others that you don't manage.

The magic of the personal check-in: red, yellow, green

I'm a big fan of trying to ensure the wellbeing of my team. During the pandemic, we all checked in on each other to ensure everyone was ok.

This article shares some thoughts on building a traffic light system into meetings to ensure people are mindful of how others are feeling.

The psychological safety of my team members is incredibly important to me so if this helps, I'm all in.

Be Kind

I've worked with some terrible co-workers and managers in the past. Lots of senior engineers who were often amazing programmers but horrible to work with.

This is a great story from the CTO of Meta/Facebook. In it, Andrew Bosworth comes to the realisation he was awful to work with because he felt that he always needed to be right. Instead, he needed to "be kind".

Being kind is something we should all be to others. It's something I try to live my life by.

I love this quote from the article:

"Being kind is fundamentally about taking responsibility for your impact on the people around you. It requires you be mindful of their feelings and considerate of the way your presence affects them."

🌶️ Hot Take

Corporate life on repeat


As someone who has been in management for a while, this hit hard! 🙈

Too much truth in one tweet for how teams work!

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,

Senior Engineering Manager @ Netlify

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