PyCon X


2-5 maggio 2019

What Football Captains and Tribal Chieftans Can Teach Us About Leading Software Teams

Title: How to Become a Kickass Team Leader

Subtitle: What Football Captains and Tribal Chieftains Can Teach Us About Leading Software Teams

Audience Level: Beginner

Requirements: None


Most engineers who get promoted to the role of a team lead feel like they were thrown in the cold waters, without prior training or education on the subject matter. Most of us that survive and actually get to like the new role, manage to educate themselves on the skills and habits required to become an effective team leader.

In this talk, I will cover the most important lessons about being an effective team lead without any previous knowledge about the subject. This is a practical talk and the audience will walk away with tons of resources for further study. The talk is primarily focused on developing Leadership skills and is tailored towards engineers.

The learning goals are: How to develop practical leadership skills for your day-to-day job How to troubleshoot the main dysfunctions of a team and how to overcome them How to foster Trust and Psychological Safety in your team Conduct productive 1:1 meetings and help your team members grow How to change your leadership style, remain flexible and still get results


The talk will be broken down into seven 5 minutes chunks, with an eighth 5 minutes chunk at the end for Q&A resulting in 45 minutes. Each chunk will cover a small area of engineering leadership and show how it fits in the bigger picture. Without further ado, here are the topics and learning goals.

1) What is Leadership and how is it different from Management: In this block I will show the core difference between Leadership on one hand, which is primarily characterized by influence and impact, and Management on the other hand, which is primarily characterized by maintenance of existing systems. This difference is important, as this talk is primarily focused on developing Leadership skills. This Leadership paradigm is widely practiced by several leaders and executives across many industries and it was also written about extensively by authors like John Maxwell and others.

2) What is the role of the team lead and how is it different, on a day-to-day basis, from the individual contributor role: In this block I will try to define the team lead role, dive a bit deeper into the differences between the daily schedule of the team lead and the individual contributor and outline the different skill-set it mandates to manage interruptions and do focused work.

3) What are the main five dysfunctions of a team and how to methodically overcome them: Moving on to this block, I will share with the audience a very important model for troubleshooting unsuccessful teams, smoking out the problems and fixing them methodically. This model was originally authored by Patrick Lencioni with a lot of success stories from the Bay Area.

4) What is Trust, what is psychological safety and how to foster them as a team leader: A team leader’s ability to foster trust and psychological safety in a team is paramount and in this block I will explore these topics further, using established research from 1st Round Journal and Harvard Business Review, as well as, showcase how Psychological Safety is implemented in successful companies like Netflix and Google.

5) What are the necessary skills for effective communication and giving and receiving feedback: In this block, I will share more practical advice on how a team leader should communicate, hold 1-on-1 meetings, give and ask for feedback as well as how they can use the famous models in the leadership sphere, such as Radical Candor and SBI (Situation-Behavior-Impact). I will also share personal stories and how these practices helped me achieve better and more trustful relationships with my peers.

06) Team mission and the different styles of leadership: In this segment, I talk about the Situational Model of Leadership, how it can be valuable to the modern-day team leader and how it enables them to stay flexible without risking sabotaging the mission and goals of the team. I will give real-world examples to help the audience traverse the model in order to apply it better.

07) Putting it all together: This segment is a high-level summary of the framework I shared so far. It will outline the role of the team leader, the purpose of having a team leader, their values with respect to the mission and goals and how they can build and lead a successful team. I will show how adopting the value of extreme ownership is the single-most important value for the team leader in order to implement this framework in their day-to-day jobs.

in on venerdì 3 maggio at 11:15 See schedule

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