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Level Up - Issue #152


Level Up

July 10 · Issue #152 · View online

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

Talent is overrated
This week I had a conversation with an engineering leader about the lack of (and competition for) great talent. Having done a lot of hiring in my past, and supporting many hiring managers right now, I understand it’s hard to find talent.
I can empathise with hiring managers who need to find experience now. It feels simple. You have some challenges, have a headcount budget and want to fill that role as soon as possible. In the perfect world, you would find the person who fits your role description and hire them. The reality is that many other teams are probably hiring for the same person.
Many leaders forget that their role (and recruiting process) isn’t just about finding the right talent. It’s also to see the latent talent in people and to see if you can unleash this potential. In your existing team, it’s about conversations about personal growth, sponsoring and providing air cover for growth opportunities and providing radically candid feedback.
For future teammates or employees, this means not just evaluating aptitude but also attitude. Do they see themselves as at the top of their game? Or do they know their strengths, gaps and are curious to learn. Great leaders and recruiting processes will prioritise people with a growth mindset over a fixed mindset. After all, no one was born a fantastic technical individual contributor.
Great leaders will also set up support systems to encourage continual growth. This might start off with a great onboarding process. Then maybe a company established a structured internal training program (like a graduate/bootcamp intake program) or an intentional rotation system that exposes people to different roles, skills and parts of a business. Other approaches might be an investment in learning communities, internal conferences and explicit sponsorship to encourage people to gain and exchange knowledge both internally and externally.
Although finding talent now is important, it’s often overrated. Talent is a snapshot of someone in time. It’s not a predictor of how someone will adapt and grow over time to challenges over time.
Enjoy this week’s newsletter, and please pass it on to a friend or colleague who might benefit.
Future dates for Shortcut to Tech Leadership and Engineering Manager Essentials are now live. Also consider levelling up your skills with self-paced courses at the

Talent is a snapshot of someone in time
Talent is a snapshot of someone in time
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Tweets of the Week
Absolutely agree 👇
Vaidehi Joshi
the quickest path to burning out as an engineering leader is to internalize the idea that you must be constantly available, unblock everything, are held accountable for every task, and have to weigh in on every decision.
A twitter thread with some nice tips 👇
1/ I've been managing people remotely for 8 years. Here's how to be a better manager in a remote (distributed) team:
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany