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Level Up - Issue #155


Level Up

July 31 · Issue #155 · 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.

One of the most challenging parts to being a leader is responding to pressure. There are many different forms of pressure such as:
  • Business pressure - How well is the business doing? How is cash in the bank? Is the business struggling? Or expanding so rapidly with pressure to deliver at the cost of research/investments, etc?
  • Interpersonal pressure - Perhaps you are working with a new person (e.g the Product-Engineering dynamic), or there is a situation with a team member that adds more friction to conversations and interactions than you think there should be.
  • Team pressure - Does your team have expectations that you are going to take care of certain organisational issues? How realistic or wide are these expectations from what you can achieve?
  • Personal pressure - We all want to do a good job, but sometimes we can set high bars that push us much further.
Given that there are so many different pressure dimensions, each with differing amounts and moving at different times, the challenge for leaders is to recognise pressure and find outlets to relieve this.
Most leaders I know engage in activities that are good distractions such as running, swimming, yoga or meditation. A few tend to take up more extreme variants such as taking part in ultra marathons or iron(wo)men competitions, etc. What I find fascinating is that a lot of these events typically involve some physical exertion (good for blood circulation and endorphins), have a repeated schedule (low effort when an activity is part of a routine/habit) and it’s a very extremely different context that refocuses the brain away from the topics you’ll face at work.
Of course, there are also the less healthy or more dangerous outlets which some leaders respond to with pressure which I can’t recommend. I’m sure you can imagine a few… 🤔
You can’t know which pressure and how much you’ll face in the future, but it’s important to have established your (healthier) responses and routines when the pressure increases.
Your challenge for this week is to reflect on your default outlets for pressure. Do you have any? Are they sustainable/low-effort to join? What different (and maybe healthier) responses could you try? Talk to some colleagues and find out how they handle pressure and maybe you’ll be inspired to try something new too 🎉.
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

What helps you cope with pressure?
What helps you cope with pressure?
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Tweets of the Week
What decisions did you make this week? 🤔
Angela Jiang
If a big enough decision doesn’t appear to have a trade off, then you’re just not aware of the cost
Not just managers! Lots of developers should understand this too! 👇
Jaana Dogan ヤナ ドガン
I wished management had a good understanding how costly it is to build something wrong in comparison to not building anything.
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
If you enjoyed this newsletter, send me feedback and share it with others!
Want to level up your technical leadership skills? Sign up for online interactive courses like Engineering Manager Essentials or Shortcut to Tech Leadership or check out self-paced courses at the Tech Lead Academy.
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany