The question “how technically hands-on should I be as a team leader?” comes up frequently in my conversations with engineering leads. The short answer is: “definitely to some extent”, but for a more specific answer we need to consider context, your individual team makeup, and your goals as a leader.


This is the third and final part of my series exploring the practices of engineers on the path to becoming team leaders. I recommend starting with parts one and two if you haven’t read them yet.

The team lead role is people-oriented, and strong relationships are important for success. Relationships…


This is the second post in a series exploring the practices of engineers on the path to becoming team leaders. I recommend starting with part 1 if you haven’t read it yet.

Aspiring team leaders influence the work of the team by understanding the bigger picture and advocating for things…


I was asked by an engineer recently, “What can I do as part of my role today to prepare myself for becoming a team leader in the future?”. This post is the first in a three-part series exploring this question.

My answer focuses on the common behaviours and experiences that…


I’ve been reflecting on two contrasting pieces on the reasons for switching into a leadership role. …


I enjoyed this recent article from Tanya Reilly about Having impact in engineering by supporting other people’s ideas. Her post contains a lot of good advice, and I wanted to expand on the section, But it’s not how I would have done it, where Tanya highlights the importance of being…


Delivering constructive feedback is hard — it’s natural to worry about the other person’s feelings, damaging your relationship, awkward silences, or worse, the discussion escalating into conflict. For these reasons, many people hold off on having difficult conversations, and when they do eventually have them, the message often isn’t as…


When someone leaves our team, it’s natural for us as leaders to focus on the immediate practical implications e.g. we’re losing our Python expert, the team’s velocity will reduce by 10 story points, or hitting the next milestone for project X is in doubt. These things are important, but they…


A common question for new or aspiring team leaders is, “how do I lead someone who is more experienced than me?”. …

Mark Wood

Engineering leader at Bloomberg. All opinions are my own.

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