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Level Up - Issue #92


Level Up

May 16 · Issue #92 · 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.

Harm caused by being stuck in Maker mode
You’ll often hear me talk about the mindset shift required of Individual Contributors (Makers) when stepping into Leadership roles (Multipliers). In one my workshops this week, I had a question, “What harm is caused when a tech lead is stuck in ‘Maker Mode’?”
Although there are many negative consequences, here are three common ones:
  • Harm to individuals’ motivation - I remember when I worked on a team where the tech lead would “refactor” (i.e. rewrite) everyone’s code overnight. The first time it happened, most developers thought it would be a once-off, but it started to happen more and more frequently. Most of the team ended up demotivated. “Why should I bother putting in effort into writing good code if it was going to be rewritten anyway?” Reviewing every single task (i.e. micromanagement) is often a symptom of someone stuck in Maker mode.
  • Harm to individuals’ potential - When a team member loses their intrinsic motivation (e.g. to add value, to learn, to improve) through micromanagement, a normal result is they wait to be told what to do. Simply put, a person won’t grow to their fullest potential. Most disempowered teams I’ve worked with never started that way… leaders, and the system they manage, took it away.
  • Harm to the leader as burnout - When a leader feels responsible for the entire team but is stuck in maker mode, their mindset drives them to do everything - not just for themselves but for the entire team. This is completely unsustainable. Unfortunately, I witness this too frequently with newly minted leaders, trying to juggle three full-time jobs - their role as a full-time individual contributor, their leadership responsibilities and everyone else’s work.
A key to preventing these negatives consequences is ensuring technical leaders transition from a maker-focused to multiplier-focused mindset. Their current situation might require some maker-skills, but to be sustainable in the long-term, the only real solution is to multiply the effectiveness of the team they are leading.
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

Technical leaders harm themself with burnout if stuck in Maker mode
Technical leaders harm themself with burnout if stuck in Maker mode
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Tweets of the Week
Agree completely
Simon Brown
If you want to up your software architecture diagramming/communication game as a team, step 1 is to agree upon a common language ... whether that's UML, ArchiMate, SysML, the C4 model, or something proprietary. Until that happens, tooling choices are irrelevant.
Very true (and not just for summer!)
Dana Jones
People leaders, you better make sure your teams are happy this summer. Hiring is ramping up, and other hiring managers (including me!) are going to come knocking. So you better make sure they are supported, challenged, nurtured, and PAID.
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please send me feedback and share 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 including “Time Management for Technical Leaders” and “Fundamentals of Systems Thinking”.
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany