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Level Up - Issue #97


Level Up

June 20 · Issue #97 · 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.

Control and Influence
In one of my workshops this week, I received a common question that sounds like, “How do I make X do Y?” Examples might include “How do I make my Product Manager invest in quality?” or “How do I make my team do TDD?” In this particular class, I was fortunate someone shared their favourite book (“Meditations”), which is a classic Stoicism book and useful in answering this question.
If you’ve ever studied Stoicism, you understand this concept that the *only* control you ever have is over what you do and what you say. You might have a formal manager role and it feels like you have control (or authority) over others, but Stoicism highlights that your feeling is only an illusion. The best leaders I know rarely exercise their “formal authority” because they know, deep down, they don’t have control. The only effective way to lead is to increase your ability to influence.
A lot of technical folk have an aversion to the words “influence.” I can understand this. I, too, used to equate the word “influence” with “getting someone to do something” in a negative manner. This would be true if you’re the only party benefiting from that influence. It doesn’t have to be that way, especially if you focus on a win-win outcome. Funnily enough, someone had to influence me to help me see this with coaching.
Activities like coaching, active listening, empathising, challenging and motivating are all forms of influence that, more often than not, have win-win outcomes. These are all great skills to invest in if you want more influence. Remember you cannot truly “make” someone doing something, but you might be able to influence them ☺️
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.
Only 10 days left! Level Up subscribers receive a 25% discount off the newest course, “Communicate Like a CTO,” using this link or the code “CLAC-LEVELUP” (until 30 Jun) 🎉🎉🎉

You have less control than you think as a leader
You have less control than you think as a leader
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Short but great twitter thread 🧵. I totally agree with. Click the tweet below to expand
Courtney Nash
Your friendly reminder that any time you implement a metric in your team/org, you run the risk of people (intentionally or not) "gaming" that metric. Whether it's SEVx/month, MTT*, SLO, KPI, OKR, pick your acronym, and then put your systems thinking cap on...
Spot on! A great example of thinking like a multiplier.
JBD ヤナ ドガン
Some of the most effective senior engineers are the ones who help others by teaching how they think about problems. At some point, your biggest contribution becomes explaining your mental model.
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany