#20 - Intentional Technical Leadership

Newsletter - Saturday, 20 August 2022

Hey my friend!

Happy Saturday! 🎉

Welcome to another issue of the Intentional Technical Leadership newsletter. I'm currently on my summer break over in America with my family but thought I'd send out another newsletter while I'm away.

This is all about technical leadership and writing and how it can be your super skill for improving team communication.

Enjoy reading these articles and let me know what you think.

👋🏻 One From Me

Creating a writing habit

If you want to improve your writing skills, you need to create a regular writing habit.

Last year I wanted to improve my writing so I embarked on a 30-day writing challenge. I wrote a new blog post almost every day for the next 30 days. Except the 30 days ended up being around 55 days!

It challenged me to:

  • think about what I wanted to write about
  • research and clarify my thoughts around the subject
  • write a blog post about the topic
  • edit the blog post into something coherent!

I really enjoyed it and I think it helped me to think more about my written communication skills, especially in the remote-first world.

Read my article to see how I developed a better writing habit.

🔖 Interesting Reading

Undervalued Software Engineering Skills: Writing Well

This is a well-written article on improving writing skills as a software engineer, or manager of a software engineering team.

I've definitely found that some engineering teams don't value writing as a key part of their roles.

In my mind, writing is a key part of the role for a software engineering and their ability to impact teams beyond their own. Writing and sharing your work helps with networking which in turn helps with career growth and promotions.

Likewise, this is the same for an engineering manager or technical leader. Sharing your priorities, vision, and impact with other technical leaders really helps to gain visibility for you and your team.

This article by The Pragmatic Engineer / Gegely Orosz is a great read on why you should write more.

How do I get better at writing?

A good question to ask is why you want to improve your writing.

  • Are you wishing that you were able to communicate better with your colleagues on Slack?
  • Do you currently struggle when it comes to putting together design documents or proposals?
  • Do you find your email and chat conversations are frustrating because you can never quite get your point across?

This article from James Stanier shares how to approach writing from an engineering leader's perspective.

In it, he talks about how you need to think about the audience for each written piece of content and adjust your approach accordingly. Writing for a technical team is much different than giving an impactful update to senior management.

Writing is Thinking: Learning to Write with Confidence

Steph Smith is a brilliant writer and this is a long but great article on writing with confidence.

In it she shares her approach for planning, writing, and editing her blog posts. It's a little more focused towards writing long form articles for the web but I've found it a valuable resource to understand what makes a useful document for others.

🌶️ Hot Take

Good Managers Write Good

I thought this was a really interesting article which suggests:

In my time observing managers, one observation seems to repeat again and again: good managers write well, and bad managers write poorly. In fact, the best managers I’ve ever seen were not just good writers, they were terrific. And the worst managers I’ve ever had were not just bad writers, they were uncommonly bad.

Have you found similar in your career? Are you a fantastic writer and hence a great manager?

I really think that one of the key parts of being a good manager is communicating well in both the written and spoken form.

I sometimes find myself writing sprawling emails or documents and I like to spend a bit of time re-reading and editing them to be more coherent and concise before sharing wider.

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

Not signed up?

Enter your email below to sign up for my newsletter to receive weekly articles. Each week you will learn more about technical leadership, intentional remote working, and growing your leadership career.

I hate spam as much as you do: your email address will never be shared.
You can unsubscribe at any time.
Powered by EmailOctopus