How did you get here? (No. 86)

As we head into a pretty murky environment, let's talk about you and your tech leadership!

Hey tech leads!

It’s Monday. The equity markets are in freefall, and the Coronavirus is freaking the world out. But remember to stay in your lane! Focus on what you can control. It’s Monday, so you’ve got the whole week in front of you. You. That’s what we’re exploring in this letter.

Today’s letter is a little different from the usual. It’s maybe even a little weird. Unlike last week where we reviewed the Four Core, this letter doesn’t contain much advice at all.

In today’s letter, I’m just really thinking about you. I’m thinking about how you got here. What do you want out of the role? What are you doing today? How I can support you? It might lead to a survey but, really, I’m just thinking about you.

How did you get here?

First, how did you get here anyway? I’m being very literal about this. What was your commute like (unless you were one of many who suddenly became a remote worker because of coronavirus)? Did you take a car? A bike? The BART? Longboard skateboard? (Sometimes I ride my Electra beach cruiser.) 

How did you feel about coming into work on Monday? Dread? Excitement? Boredom? Anticipation?

What’s on your mind? What has your attention? Are you thinking about the tech work in front of you, or are you thinking about the people and the challenges or opportunities they create? Or are the challenges and opportunities you see intermingled together, both the tech and the people, which I think is how most of you think of it…?

What’s the first thing you did when you got to work, whether in person or remotely? Did you check Slack? Email? What am I even saying??! You probably did those things before you even took a shower this morning, am I right? (You did take a shower this morning, didn’t you Mr. or Ms. Remote Worker?)

(By the way I have a tracking sheet approach that could help you if you’re having kind of a slow start to your day or week.)

Speaking of how you got here, how did you get into the role anyway? Was it a casual, informal slot into the tech lead role? Or was it a formal process where you were promoted or hired into the role? What did your management say to you when you came into the role? Why did you want to do it, or why did you agree to it? How well were your own expectations or hopes fulfilled or dashed?

What are you looking for?

And since you’re in the role now, what are you looking for? I like to think that I offer you clarity, certainty, and confidence, but do you feel like you need clarity about what you’re supposed to do? Are the expectations clear for you? How do you feel like you’re going to succeed in the role if you do understand the expectations?

Assuming you understand the expectations and you’re certain of what to do, how confident do you feel that you can pull this off? How confident are you that you can be a great tech lead?

What do you need to get through your day? The common tasks for tech leads include mentoring, meetings, defining visions, track in the team, running projects, shipping the technical product vision, and probably writing a lot of code. 

Among all those things what has your attention of all those things? Why? Is it the right thing to be paying attention to?

All about you

As I said this is really a letter about you and asking you questions to ask yourself. If it seems to be lacking in any content, well, that’s not quite accurate. As you move further into this “leadership thing” you learn that, really, it’s the questions that matter the most.

But I’m curious how I can support you. I strongly believe the Four Core capabilities will help you, but I’m curious how well you’re able to apply them. After all, it is a fairly general framework, so it’s left to you to translate what I say into your day to day activities. 

I wonder if it works well for you or how often you remember them.

Even though we probably haven’t met, I think quite a bit about you. 

The big questions to leave you with are: where are you now, where do you want to go, do you actually want to be great as a tech lead, do you believe you can?

Talk to you on Wednesday, tech leads!


Take the Short Survey

Thanks for reading!

The Tech Lead Coaching email list and podcast are written and recorded by Michael Rice to bring more clarity, certainty, and confidence to my tech leads.

Tips? Have something you’d like me to cover or someone you want to me talk about? Drop me an email to Hope you will. 🤞

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Published from sunny Los Angeles. 🌴☀️

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