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Unexpected Anti-Patterns for Engineering Leaders

"The key to effective engineering leadership lies in figuring out which scenarios are worth deliberately defying conventional logic, and when to simply follow the rules."

Lots of good food for thought here. I've definitely been guilty of some of the anti-patterns here - particularly trying to be an umbrella for my team, which can leave people out of the loop and let them feel like they're lacking needed transparency.

The key is being able to jump in and get into the weeds when it's helpful, get out when it's not, and give everybody the context, culture, information, and resources they need in order to do their best work in service of the mission, vision, and strategy.

Speaking of, I love this:

"There’s this pervasive belief that there’s no strategy anywhere, but that’s not true. There is strategy everywhere, it’s just rarely written."

That's been true of every organization I've joined, and - if I'm honest with myself - every organization I've started.

"Complicating things even further, Larson also has found that many companies do have a habit of writing things down, they just aren’t the right things. “It’s the small decisions that end up getting documented,” Larson says. “You’d think it would be the opposite, but in my experience, the answers to important questions like, ‘Why did we go into this business? Why are we shutting down this business line? Why are we doing this services migration that's going to take five years?’ literally aren't written down anywhere.”"

Encouraging people to write reflections, to capture the "why" of decisions that were made, and, essentially, to journal the journey of the team and the company is rarely done, but I think forms part of a solution to many problems.


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