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Chris Chen

Tech Lead Anti-patterns

Leadership1 min read

Tech lead is a hard job. It's not hard for a senior software engineer to get the title. Meanwhile, it's the same easy for a tech lead to be overworked, miserable, unappreciated, or even worse, hated openly or secretly by the teammate(s). Over the past five years, I've witnessed multiple tech leads fall into this trap; some even asked to step down to return to the IC (individual contributor) role (nothing wrong with being an IC).

So what went wrong?

  • Fail to leave the ego at the door
  • Fail to treat teammates as grown-ups
  • Fail to focus time and energy on critical matters
  • Fail to listen and observe
  • Fail to give clear directions
  • Fail to provide air cover for the team
  • Fail to plan up-skilling for the teammates
  • Fail to build a personal connection
  • Fail to ask for feedback

TL;DR: get a copy of Software engineering at Google (the Flamingo Book), read the Part II.

Software engineering at Google