Level Up

By Patrick Kua

Level Up - Issue #112



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Level Up

October 3 · Issue #112 · 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.

Getting better at saying no
All leaders struggle to find enough time. Effective time management is a keystone habit for great leaders. If you don’t have enough time to reflect, plan and take care of your to-do list, you’ll end up in a negative reinforcing loop of reacting and dealing with emergencies. If you have enough time to reflect, plan and take care of your to-do list, you’ll have much more impact.
Some technical leaders I work with are already in the midst of this negative reinforcing loop and we work together to break out of this loop. One habit that helps is getting better at saying no.
There are many reasons why some leaders struggle to say no such as not wanting to disappoint someone, feeling like saying yes builds trust, or assume that they will have the time. Here are some tips to help you get better at saying no:
  • Have a clear focus - Call it a personal mission or a top priority. If you don’t have a clear focus on where you should be spending your time, it’s hard to evaluate if someone’s request is aligned to that. Here is where OKRs (when done well) can be helpful because they create visibility on top priorities for teams and individuals.
  • Block out time in advance - Peer into the calendar of a leader you admire and you’ll probably find they have calendar blockers like “Thinking Time”, “My Time”, “Focus Time” or “Deep Work” time. It’s easier to say no when you literally don’t have time in your calendar. Save that time in advance.
  • Identify a “due by” date - Some requests are for work much further into the future. Instead of saying yes (and doing the work immediately), you might be able so say instead, “No, not now but I can in X days or weeks.
  • Redirect the request to someone more appropriate - People pleasers might struggle to say no because they want to appear helpful. You may not have the time to take on someone’s request, but you might know of someone who can and might even do a better job at it. By redirecting the request, you’re still helping the person achieve their outcome even if you’re not doing it.
Your challenge for this week is to reflect on incoming requests and practise saying no.
Enjoy this week’s newsletter and be sure to pass it on to a friend or colleague.
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.

Practise saying no this week
Practise saying no this week
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Tweets of the Week
A reminder for all hiring managers to review your job descriptions and remove that degree requirement 👇
Natalia Panferova
I don’t have a CS degree either and I think being a Frameworks Engineer at Apple, I’m doing just fine too 😊

Keep up the good work whether you have a degree or not and don’t let anyone discourage you! https://t.co/NF5eiRPo1X
A great example of how the right abstraction offers a lot of productivity. Anyone remember writing dynamic JS before jQuery 😅?
Mike Monster Mash Sherov (he/him)
I reported this before, but now it's a bit clearer: jQuery did indeed peak in usage halfway through 2020, and is only *now* finally in decline.

What amazing impact... peaking at *80%* penetration of the top 100K websites!

We all owe @jeresig a big debt. Write less, do more! https://t.co/Ky0xoaliqO
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please send me feedback and share it 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