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Level Up - Issue #38

I was having a conversation with someone this week and a problem I was working through came up. They

Level Up

May 3 · Issue #38 · 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.

I was having a conversation with someone this week and a problem I was working through came up. They offered some advice, but here’s the thing… I wasn’t looking for a solution! I see this pattern far too often with technical leaders who want to “problem solve.” You see this in relationships too, where one person is trying to problem solve, and the other wants to be heard or acknowledged. In my case, I wanted to let off some steam. Pre-COVID, this would normally be over a beer and well understood. The cues are much harder to see over teleconferencing, so keep this in mind with your 1-1s.
A good leader recognises when people want empathy and that they don’t want solutions. The book, “Difficult Conversations” explains this very well. This frustration emerges because we are having two types of conversation. I was having the “Feeling” conversation (e.g. “Agree that it was a silly situation!”) and the other person was having a “What Happened” conversation (e.g. “But did you try X?”) This happens all the time.
I think that developers in leadership roles find this more difficult. I know I fall into this trap still! One of the core skills of a developer is to problem solve. Most of us do it out of habit than purposefully. To counteract this, I try to remind myself to move into coaching mode, as a way of consciously dampening my default problem solving mode.
Sometimes the best thing to do as a leader is to bite your tongue when you want to provide a solution. Ask questions to find out what the person is looking for. It might simply be a bit of empathy, and time to be listened to.
I hope you enjoy this week’s content. If you find it useful, please forward to someone else and send me feedback. Stay safe and healthy 🙏
Level up your leadership skills with better time management. Register for the new online course, “Time Management for Technical Leaders” from the Tech Lead Academy 🎉

Leaders listen carefully to what sort of conversation they are in
Leaders listen carefully to what sort of conversation they are in
Who are the non-technicals?
Facing impostor syndrome and time management issues
A Week in Review
Journaling with Notability and the Apple Pencil
Things I Wished More Developers Knew About Databases
How LinkedIn handles merging code in high-velocity repositories
Comment Only What the Code Cannot Say
Software Architecture and Design InfoQ Trends Report
Organisation & Processes
Stop trying to borrow wisdom and think for yourself
Agile’s Early Evangelists Wouldn’t Mind Watching It Die
The science of why remote meetings don't feel the same
Favor resiliency over prevention
Interesting tweets
If you read the article in last week’s newsletter criticising the Spotify model, then you should read this tweet 🧵 from Mikael Olenfalk (@mauvezero) who provides a first-hand historical view about why they decided on some of the names. Rarely mentioned and totally should be captured as an (Organisational) Architecture Decision Record (ADR)!
Mikael Olenfalk
I came up with the name “squads” and I am a teensy bit annoyed that the author snarkily added “because it sounds cooler (not joking)” after it introducing the name in the article 😂
Hilarious tweet from Growing Object Oriented Software, Guided by Tests (GOOSe) author Nat Pryce (@natpryce) 🤣
Nat Pryce
Some #RealisticComputingBooks...

* Team Apologies
* Clone Architecture
* User Story Napping
* Enterprise Conflagration Patterns
Simple but effective, just like XP and TDD 👏 Kent Beck (@KentBeck)
Kent Beck
I don’t often need recursion but when I need it I *really* need it.
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please send me feedback and share with others!
If you’re interested in growing and supporting technical leaders in your company, get in touch about my “Tech Lead Skills for Developers” course or check out the Tech Lead Academy online course on “Time Management for Technical Leaders
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany