Just another blog…

Leadership

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Some blogs I recommend reading this month…

The Two Traits of the Best Problem-Solving Teams
Having teams that are cognitively diverse that also have psychological safety are probably on most leaders’ wish list. It is the leaders and their behaviour that are key to this.

Talk: Building Great Engineer Cultures from 0 to Scale
Fast-paced from Marty Weiner with lots of content. Whether you’re scaling your teams or not there are good takeaways for any leader. I like the active listening technique he references and especially the “Communicate the “why”” so that others don’t need to assume my motivations.

Blind Spots That Plague Even The Best Leaders
We are all human and therefore none of us are immune to mistakes. This is a good post about managing 5 visionary weaknesses. I believe leaders need to show good self-awareness over their blind spots and to listen and learn from others to… Continue reading

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I’ve been a manager for a number of years now but still enjoy getting my hands dirty in the code. There’s a buzz I get from understanding a problem and delivering a solution! Full-time coding is difficult to let go of for many engineers moving into management, the challenges moves into finding the right balance. Staying close to the code is important but there has to be a different mindset, especially for the sake of the team!

There’s a simple rule I follow – don’t take on feature stories. Feature stories are a business priority so the risk is too big if I cannot give them my full attention because of other commitments. These stories must stay with engineers, but managers can still remain close to the code with code reviews, refactoring, bug investigation, etc.

Work on tech stories

Non-blocking tech stories are a lower priority than feature stories, usually,… Continue reading

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Some blogs I recommend reading this month…

The 3 Types of C Players and What to Do About Them
This blog gives good options on a difficult problem- C Players. Having C players on the team always poses a dilemma, as each player and situation is different there is no silver bullet. Something does need to be done it’s a matter of what. As the blog describes, the C players motivation is an important aspect, but it’s the effect they are having on the rest of the team that decides the outcome.

The 5 ways to improve your self-awareness as a leader
“The most overlooked element of a successful leader is self-awareness.” I cannot agree more, as I have also blogged about. This post covers good reasons why self-awareness is crucial for leadership and ways to improve your own. For me, honesty and humility go a long way in helping… Continue reading

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One-to-ones should be seen as a special time, it’s usually the only time set aside for you and a member of the team to talk…about anything! Unfortunately, it seems most time in one-on-ones is used up with status reports that a manager should know anyway. Set a target to learn something new from each of your one-on-one conversations.

Fill in the gaps

A manager cannot be in every conversation or meeting. One-on-ones are an opportunity to ask questions to fill in any gaps from missed meetings/discussions.

  • How did the meeting go? (give specific details in the question)
  • What was the outcome?
  • Is there anything I need to know?

You learn a lot about the person in the way they describe events. Was the context set? Can you understand the main topics from them? Were the outcomes described clearly? Did you notice any bias? These conversations let you fill in the… Continue reading

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Some blogs I enjoyed reading this month…

The 8 Must-Have Non-Technical Skills in Software Development
Non-technical skills, or soft skills, are essential to be successful. Even more basic though, is team fit for which these skills are a must. This blog covers 8 of these. One-on-ones are a good time to encourage these in people so they see the value in practising them at a team level.

Differences Between a Manager and a Leader
I’ve covered this topic before but I like this post. It’s quite a long read with many good points contrasting management and leadership. I like this “Leading by example is most easily completed when the leader is willing to perform the same tasks that they expect of others.”

Want to improve your management style? Screw the Golden Rule
This is a good reminder, for me a least! “You shouldn’t treat other people the way you want… Continue reading

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Year-end reviews think back on the year, while this is important it’s also a good opportunity to be forward thinking for next year. Whether it’s for us or others, preparing for next year while reflecting on this one can prove valuable. The goal-setting period usually creeps up on us and, before we know it, we’re throwing in goals without much thought to finally prevent the annoying reminders appearing!

Jotting down a few thoughts now should be a quick exercise. While the year-end discussions are fresh in your mind, note down anything that could help for the future. Ask questions about yourself and your team to help stimulate this time…

  • For each person in the team, what’s top of the list for their growth? Is it an improvement or a new skill?
  • What will your job look like in 1 year? What do you need to plan for? Same for your… Continue reading
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Mentoring can be wide-ranging from offering guidance to advice and support. Approaches can vary, from the very informal to a fully documented structured program. Different approaches have their merits, the correct one will depend on the goal of the mentorship and the people involved. It could be said that any approach is better than none, but that’s not true if a particular style of mentorship harms the mentor-mentee relationship.

Before starting any form of mentorship there needs to be a clear understanding of the reasons for doing it. Only once these are understood can a program be put together. Good mentorship needs to careful thought as no one program will suit everyone. It sounds a lot of effort, that’s because it is! Without the effort, the true value of any guidance may be missed. But there is so much to gain, this is one reason why I believe that mentoring… Continue reading

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