#14 - Intentional Technical Leadership

Newsletter - Friday, 8 July 2022

How's it going my friend?

Happy Saturday! 🎉

Welcome to another issue of the Intentional Technical Leadership newsletter.

I hope you have had a productive week full of fun and challenges.

Every week, I share a curated list of my favourite articles and thoughts on intentional remote working, technical leadership, and software engineering management.

Here are this week's stories. Enjoy!

🔖 Interesting Reading

How To Use A "No" Template To Make It Easier To Say No

This isn't really a technical leadership article but it really resonated with me.

I know that I struggle to say no to things at times. I was brought up to be thoughtful to others and to help where I can. I often find myself saying "yes" to people when I don't have the capacity to help.

This is a great post which shares tips on getting better at saying "no" when you don't want to do something. I like the idea of having a "no template" with prepared responses to avoid the feeling of embarrassment when declining a request.

Asking Stupid Questions

If you're on my team, you'll hear me say that there's "no such thing as a silly question". I really like to drive home the fact that people should feel comfortable in asking about anything they don't understand.

A stupid question is just something you haven't learnt about yet.

This is really important if you're a manager and you should be asking "stupid" questions in front of your team.

There's often an illusion that the team's manager knows everything. Asking questions allows less experienced team members see that you're human and helps to build psychological safety and trust within the team.

Take a read of this article and ask a "stupid" question today! 😄

Duncan Skelton (Executive Coach) | Developer to Manager

The Developer to Manager blog is a great resource if you're interested in learning more about transitioning into technical leadership. It features some experience engineering leaders who share their stories of how they came to their current roles.

This article shares Duncan Skelton's transition through the ranks of Google as a software engineer and then into an engineering manager role. It's a fascinating read and he shares some tips for how to manage your own transition.

Duncan is a great guy who's now an experienced executive coach and you can book a free 1-on-1 coaching session with him too. Tell him I sent you! 😍

Google Tried to Prove Managers Don't Matter. Instead, It Discovered 10 Traits of the Very Best Ones

In the article above, Duncan shared some insights into Google's Project Oxygen. This was an experiment to prove that managers don't matter and that they should have a flat organisational structure.

This radical experiment actually proved that it was a false hypothesis!

This article shares some of the findings of the best managers. Take a look as I'm sure you'll find some ideas which you can apply to your own role.

Run better meetings to build community in your remote team

This is another fine article from Jason Lengstorf, the VP of Developer Experience here at Netlify.

He shares a list of fantastic tips for building a community within a remote team. There are loads of actionable ideas here that you can try with your own team.

Let me know if any work better than others.

🌶️ Hot Take

Long tenure


As someone who has been in technology for a long time, there's definitely something to be said for having a longer role at a company, especially if you're a manager or technical leader.

You can definitely increase your salary by moving roles more frequently, but being able to see your decisions come to fruition over a longer period of time is really rewarding.

You can watch your team grow and help them to be promoted.

You can help to make bigger initiatives happen across multiple teams or departments.

You can become the expert in your field and help people to understand the historical context for why those decisions were made.

A long tenure can be rewarding for those that want it.

More great learnings from Dan Luu. If you don't follow him already, then you really should!

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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