#24 - Intentional Technical Leadership

Newsletter - Saturday, 24 September 2022

Hey my friend!

Happy Saturday! πŸŽ‰

Welcome to another issue of the Intentional Technical Leadership newsletter.

πŸ‘‹ It's great to see so many new people sign up to the newsletter this week.

I'm not sure where you found me but welcome to the newsletter where each week I share some of the best technical leadership articles from the web.

This week I've been trying to get back into a routine after flying home from a -11 hour time zone difference! I desperately need a good night's sleep! 😴

It's the end of a quarter so I'm looking at how much my team has achieved and what we've not yet done. It's time to celebrate the wins and see how far we've come.

There's a lot of great content this week so let's get started.

πŸ”– Interesting Reading

How I manage "underperformers" | Mekka Okereke

One of the key roles as a technical leader or engineering manager is managing performance. It's your job to coach or mentor your team members and help them to grow in their career and ultimately get promoted.

But what happens when you have someone on your team who is "underperforming"?

Underperformance is often based around an arbitrary baseline that you or the company has defined. It's not necessarily a reflection of the individual's ability or potential.

In this great Twitter thread, Mekka Okereke shares his experience and advice on how to manage underperformance by trying to determine why someone is seen as not performing well.

It could be your own fault for not setting clear expectations and not providing the right support and guidance to your team members. Or maybe the job has changed over time and isn't what they thought it was so they're no longer happy.

Take a read and you'll find some great ideas for challenging the idea of "underperformance" and how to manage it.

How to manage one-to-ones

This is a great article by Dan Moore from his collection of blog posts called "Letters to a new developer".

In it he shares his ideas of how to approach one-to-ones if you're unfamiliar with them.

It's a great read for new managers if you're just starting one-to-ones with your team but it's also really useful to share the link with your team members. It'll help them to understand the value of regular catch ups with their manager and why they shouldn't revolve around project status updates.

The leader’s journal: Become an inspiring leader in ten minutes a day

If you've been reading my newsletter for a while then you'll know that I'm a fan of writing as a way to boost your career in the tech world. Being more visible is an underrated skill that you need to embrace.

We spend so much time racing from meeting to meeting and planning and prioritising our work, that we often don't take a step back to think about what we've achieved each week.

Sometimes we need to hit pause and reflect on our work to see what we've done well and what we can improve on.

This article by Ofir Sharony shares his thoughts on writing a leadership journal to collect interesting insights and spend time reflecting on your work.

Ofir shares his own framework for taking 10 minutes out of your day to understand the decisions and challenges that the day has brought.

I find this self-reflection really useful as a manager.

Our jobs often involve work that won't show immediate impact like fixing a bug will. Sitting back and thinking about the decisions you've made and how they're opening up future opportunities is really helpful.

How to handle a reorganization as an engineering manager

If you're new to the technology industry then you might not have come across a company reorganisation yet.

If you're a veteran software engineer or manager then I'm sure this has happened to you more than once!

This LeadDev blog post by Camille Fournier, author of the great book "The Manager's Path", shares some strategies for ensuring a reorganisation goes as smoothly as possible for both you and your team.

The team are going to be unsettled as they may have a change of boss, move teams, or even be made redundant. It's your job to help to guide them through this transition and avoid them worrying too much.

It's not an easy process to manage, but Camille's tips will really help if your company is changing direction.

🌢️ Hot Take

Jade Rubick - If you want to be a terrible manager, focus on being a shit shield

Pardon the language but you may have previously heard of the term "shit shield" when it comes to a manager's main role. The idea is that you're constantly battling outside forces to stop them distracting your team from doing their best work.

I definitely heard this before I started my career in technical leadership! πŸ’©πŸ›‘οΈ

This article by Jade Rubick shares why this is a terrible way to think about your role.

Constantly protecting your team from the rest of the organisation is setting them up for failure by creating an adversarial relationship with the rest of the company. If you're not engaging with other teams, you're not building the right sort of network and relationships with other teams that matter.

This post has some solid ideas for approaching management with a collaborative mindset. Understanding why other teams are putting pressure on your team and working out solutions together is a much better approach.

Have a read and let me know what you think!

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 as I love hearing from my readers.

Have an amazing week and be excellent to each other!

Speak to you soon,

Senior Engineering Manager @ Netlify

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