Level Up

By Patrick Kua

Level Up - Issue #101




Level Up

July 18 · Issue #101 · View online

Level Up delivers a curated newsletter for leaders in tech. A project by https://patkua.com. Ideal for busy people such as Tech Leads, Engineering Managers, VPs of Engineering, CTOs and more.

Dealing with bad days
Everyone has bad days. It’s natural that we sometimes wake up, find ourselves in bad mood, or experience a bad situation and feel frustrated by this. Since all leaders are naturally multipliers, it’s even more important to build habits to ensure your bad day doesn’t multiply to become everyone’s bad day 😧!
The best leaders I’ve seen have high Emotional Intelligence (EQ). One key part of EQ is self-awareness. You can’t regulate your behaviour if you can’t first recognise how you are feeling, and self-awareness is the first step. Poor leaders ignore their feelings, which is the wrong strategy. Ignoring them doesn’t make your feelings go away. Instead, feeling anger about a bad day often bleeds or erupts in the wrong situation such as shouting at someone or over-reacting.
If you’re feeling like you’re having a bad day, here are some things to try:
  • Let people know - Additional context is important for people to know that if you are going to react poorly, it’s not about them, but more about something else that you’re dealing with. When you share this context, it may help build empathy.
  • Find a frustration outlet - It’s normal to feel frustration, anger or be upset about a bad day. Rather than ignore it, find a channel for it. Some people go for a (fast) walk. Others have their trusted “buddy” they can complain to who won’t judge them.
  • Take time out - Sometimes it’s better to not continue a conversation, particularly if you feel your blood is boiling. Ask if you can delay the conversation until you find your calm. Most meetings can be rescheduled for several hours later, or the day after without major consequences.
  • Finish your bad day earlier - You may be tempted to “push through” the frustration, but don’t. I’ve seen too many leaders do this and then spend several days or a week “cleaning up” some of their messes because they damaged relationships, communicated poorly, and started more fires than they put out because their bad day multiplied into everyone’s.
Remind yourself that everyone has a bad day, and that hopefully tomorrow will be better. Got a good strategy that works for you? Drop me an email and let me know.
I hope you enjoy this week’s newsletter! Share it with a friend or colleague if you find it helpful. Want to level up your technical leadership skills? Sign up for the online workshop, “Shortcut to Tech Leadership” or take a self-paced course at the http://techlead.academy.

Everyone has bad days. The challenge for leaders is knowing how to deal with them.
Everyone has bad days. The challenge for leaders is knowing how to deal with them.
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Watch out!
Eric Elliott
Beware of the tech debt firehose: Often the fastest feature builder. Managers love them, but they slow down the rest of the team with poor planning, inscrutable code, poor test coverage, and no docs.
I can think of many people who suffer from this (and their teams suffer even more). Hopefully, dear reader, you are not one of them. 🤨
The worst anti-pattern in management is when the manager perceives stand out direct reports to be a threat to them, instead of an asset
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please send me feedback and share with others!
Want to level up your technical leadership skills? Watch out for future dates for the Shortcut to Tech Leadership online workshop, or check out self-paced courses at the Tech Lead Academy.
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany