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Level Up - Issue #99

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Level Up

July 4 · Issue #99 · 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.


Avoiding the phrase, “That’s obvious”
Technical folk are often very harsh with their feedback. When working with software teams, I often hear the phrase, “You didn’t know that? That’s obvious.” As an experienced leader, I’m very careful about using this phrase, because it harms psychological safety, one of the foundations of high-performing teams. Other common variants include, “How could you not know that?”, “Everyone knows that,” and “That’s trivial.” When someone says the phrase, “That’s obvious,” they are really trying to say, “Given my background and experience, that’s obvious to me.
Great leaders and great communicators recognise everyone has different backgrounds and experiences. Given the breadth and speed of how technology moves, we should also expect everyone to have gaps. It’s practically impossible to know every single concept, technology, or tool. Discovering someone has a knowledge gap isn’t an excuse to judge or belittle; which is what a lot of these statements do.
There are often good reasons why someone has a knowledge gap. Instead of sharing their judgement, great leaders and communciators recognise the gap and look for ways to bridge this. If the person is unaware of a concept, you might pause a conversation to give them time to do some research and reading. If both of you have the time and energy, you might consider using that time to share your knowledge to bring them up to speed.
Listen carefully for the word “obvious.” Practice empathy and remind yourself that what is obvious to one person is not always obvious to another.
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.
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 http://techlead.academy.

Accept that not everything is obvious to everyone
Accept that not everything is obvious to everyone
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To avoid burnout, Mozilla, Fidelity, Marriott and other companies offer workers more time off
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Tweets of the Week
Relevant opinion as I know leaders decide on what the future of work might look like for their companies 🤓
Nick Francis
Several folks have said it already, but it’s worth saying again: hybrid is WAY harder than remote first or office only.

I know it sounds like best of both, but it marginalizes remote employees. A lot of companies are about to learn the hard way.
A good analogy 🤣
Graham Lea
StackOverflow is like on-demand ensemble programming with 2-30 other people who’ve had a similar problem to you but in different contexts.

GitHub Copilot looks more like pairing w/ someone who takes over your keyboard and smashes out code without explaining what it does or how. https://t.co/lVni6FCEw1
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.
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany