Level Up

By Patrick Kua

Level Up - Issue #168

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Level Up

October 30 · Issue #168 · 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.


Facing Uncertainty
I often get asked in my workshops, “How do you make a good decision when facing uncertainty?” Although I don’t have the perfect answer, I have found ways that I feel comfortable with. Here are a few tips:
  • Accept that there will always be some uncertainty - If we always had certainty, then we would be very good at predicting the future (which we’re not). We cannot predict how others will act or react. We cannot say how collective societies will change and all of these elements contribute to levels of uncertainty. Be comfortable that you can never get rid of all uncertainty.
  • Uncertainty increases with your scope - Think about a CEO. They have to make decisions in high levels of uncertainty such as customer behaviour, investor risk tolerance, the actions of their team and what each person in their organisation does. That’s quite different a different level of uncertainty if you’re a developer choosing how you design a program.
  • Focus on what you can control and influence - Once you accept there are elements of uncertainty, you can increase some certainty by making decisions or taking action. These are your areas of control and influence.
  • Focus on the decision-making process - The book, “Thinking in Bets” helped me understand that decisions are never perfect and you should consider decisions like bets. A bad outcome doesn’t necessarily reflect a bad decision-making process. Sometimes you have bad luck!
  • Apply the prime directive - Some of you know that I’m a big fan of retrospectives. One of my favourite things to remind myself of, even outside of retrospectives, is the retrospective prime directive. This applies to you as well. Remind yourself you are doing the best possible job given the current context.
Leadership roles require you to embrace uncertainty. Your role is to craft certainty from uncertainty by taking action and making decisions. Sometimes your decisions may turn out wrong and you have to be willing to take a bet.
Your challenge this week is to reflect on how you deal with an uncertain situation? Do you ignore this? Do you give that responsibility to someone else? Or do you try to craft more certainty from uncertainty, seeing what you can control and influence?
I hope you enjoy this week’s newsletter! Share it with a friend or colleague if you find it helpful, or drop me an email about topics you’d like to hear about in future editions.
Join a cohort-based fully remote workshop Engineering Manager Essentials and Shortcut to Tech Leadership 🎉 to level up your technical leadership skills. Or choose a self-paced course at the http://techlead.academy

One difficult aspect of leadership is facing uncertainty
One difficult aspect of leadership is facing uncertainty
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Tweets of the Week
A timely tweet thread given the article about programming languages. I’m also fascinated by it as I’ve never written any production Haskell. Click the tweet to expand the thread👇
Rebecca Skinner
I used Haskell for the first time professionally in 2010. At 12 YoE, I have more experience with it than any other language I’ve used professionally (10 years of C, ~5 each of go, python, & ruby, plus many others).

In that time, I think there are a few lessons I’ve learned 🧵
🤣
Noah Veltman
I really thought I had seen it all for nerdy license plates in the Bay and then I saw the Unicode for the 🚗 emoji https://t.co/ADNEbFWoVk
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 Shortcut to Tech Leadership or Engineering Manager Essentials or check out self-paced courses at the Tech Lead Academy.
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany