Becoming a technical leader by Gerald Weinberg

It is time for my first book review of 2020!

A while back someone told me that they saw potential in me to take on a leadership function, but I needed to learn to communication in different styles. Although I appreciated the input, I had one problem: I don’t know any other communication style than my current one… Even worse, I don’t fully understand my current communication style and the impact it has on different people.

So, I started reading some different books on communication, but I just couldn’t motivate myself to keep reading it. Then I remembered a friend of mine talking about Becoming a technical leader and how great they thought the book was. I can only say one thing: they were right. Every chapter has a Question section with thoughtful questions so you can start looking into who you are and how you lead. Besides that, it offers some wonderful advice on how to be a better leader, including how you can communicate with other people.

Chapter 2. Models of Leadership Style

If we look more closely at how technical leaders emphasize innovation, we find that they concentrate on three major areas: • understanding the problem • managing the flow of ideas • maintaining quality (Location 438)

Chapter 3. A Problem-Solving Style

Effective leaders build continuous testing of their own understanding into their work . They are self - confident, but realistic about their own intellectual limitations. (Location 517)

Drop one’s own idea in favor of an idea the team wants to develop, and Refuse to let an idea drop until everyone understands it. (Location 536)

Resist time pressure, and take the time to listen when other people explain their ideas. (Location 544)

Withhold quick criticism of teammates ’ ideas, in order to keep the ideas flowing. (Location 553)

When you must criticize an idea, make clear that you are criticizing the idea, not the person who offered the idea. (Location 558)

When time and labor are running short, stop working on new ideas and just pitch in. (Location 566)

Encourage the team to drop ideas that had succeeded earlier, but cannot be extended to the new situation. (Location 569)

Revive a dropped idea later, when it has value for another part of the problem. (Location 572)

Design tools and processes to measure quality as you build a solution. (Location 581)

Measure the speed of implementation, compare it to the schedule, and be prepared to change the solution procedure. (Location 585)

Step back from the project to refresh your perspective and to assess its viability. (Location 587)

Check ideas with the customer before implementing them. (Location 591)

Chapter 6. The Three Great Obstacles to Innovation

Don’t ever volunteer your observations about people Even when people ask for your observations, they won’t always like what you have to say. (Location 943 - 944)

Chapter 10. The First Great Obstacle to Motivating Others

We tend to think that our messages are perfectly clear, but you can generally assume something will be lost in every reception. (Location 1493)

Perception: Neither of us perceives even the manifest part in the same way Wrong time: The transformation refers to things in the past or future, things that have no logical bearing on the present communication. Wrong place: The transformation refers to some other context. Wrong person: The transformation refers to some other person. Self-worth: My feelings about myself have a powerful influence on how I respond, but you have no direct access to how I feel about myself (Location 1555 - 1563)

Tell them what you perceive, how you feel about what you perceive, and if possible how you feel about that feeling. (Location 1579)

Chapter 11. The Second Great Obstacle to Motivating Others

When I’m finished with them, do they care less about the subject? (Location 1660)

If you can’t do the task without exploiting people, perhaps you shouldn’t do it at all. (Location 1679)

Chapter 12. The Problem of Helping Others

Programming team leaders are promoted according to their technical skills, with the assumption that any normal person will be able to pick up leadership skills along the way. (Location 1743)

Wanting to help people may be a noble motive but that doesn’t make it any easier. (Location 1811)

If people don’t want your help, you’ll never succeed in helping them, no matter how smart or wonderful you are. (Location 1814)

Effective help can only start with mutual agreement on a clear definition of the problem. (Location 1818)

Always check whether they want your help. (Location 1823)

Even when people agree that they want your help, that agreement is not usually a lifetime contract. (Location 1827)

They don’t seem to realize that every offer to help is intended to do something for the helper. There are very few living saints. (Location 1830)

Most people understand that helpers are selfish, but also think they are exceptions to the rule. (Location 1838)

Attempts to help are often interpreted as attempts to interfere. (Location 1841)

No matter how strange it may look, most people are actually trying to be helpful. (Location 1843)

Chapter 15. Power, Imperfection, and Congruence

If everyone wants so intensely to do good, how can so many people be doing such a miserable job? (Location 2135)

Maturity is, rather, a statistical collection of behaviors, behaviors we can improve a little at a time. (Location 2174)

Chapter 24. Finding Support for Change

Whenever you try to change, some of the people you know will try to prevent you from changing. (Location 3369)

Version of the book

Weinberg, Gerald. Becoming a Technical Leader. leanpub.com. Kindle Edition.