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Communicating Effectively As A Tech Lead

Addy Osmani
August 14, 2022

Communicating Effectively As A Tech Lead

Communicating Effectively as a Technical Lead: here are my tips for how to talk to teams and stakeholders. Available in more detail in my new article on LeadDev: https://leaddev.com/communication-relationships/tech-leads-guide-effective-communication

Addy Osmani

August 14, 2022

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  1. Communicating
    Effectively As A

    Tech Lead
    Addy Osmani

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  2. Simplify
    Optimize for your audience.

    • Adapt to the situation & context.

    • This may mean avoiding using team-
    specific jargon or making
    assumptions about context.

    • Remember, it’s possible that
    acronyms may not be well-socialized
    even within a team.

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  3. Simplify
    Try simplifying technical terms and
    concepts using metaphors or
    analogies where appropriate.

    • Aim to bring all of your audience
    along even if they aren’t fully familiar
    with the same terms.

    • Aim to not leave anyone behind

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  4. Be concise and on point
    • Shorter messages are more likely
    to be absorbed in their entirety.

    • Avoid discussing caveats and
    edge-case exceptions if they are
    irrelevant to that audience.

    • Don’t stray from the core point of
    the message.

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  5. Be concise and on point
    • Mentally check if it's the right
    audience, forum, and time of the
    day before bringing up something

    • Avoid filler words: 'basically', 'you
    know', 'like', 'kind of', 'huh', '...and
    stuff', '..and things like that'.

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  6. Communicating with executives
    …to successfully motivate action,
    understand their process:

    • Vision: Do teams know where they’re
    going and how to get there?

    • Alignment: Do I agree with the
    direction? Is it based on data?

    • Ability: Can they execute? Do they
    see the issues? Is there progress?

    • Cost + Empowerment: What do
    they need to be successful?

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  7. Communicating with executives
    Structure your communication

    • Start with the answer first

    • Group and summarize your
    supporting arguments

    • Logically structure your writing

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  8. Listen
    • Listen attentively! Understand,
    reflect, and then respond to
    what’s being said.

    • Observe verbal and non-verbal
    messages and signals before
    responding. Listen to what people
    are really saying and adjust your
    tone and response accordingly.

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  9. Listen
    • Be attentive and open to
    feedback in 1:1 discussions and
    team meetings.

    • When conversing with senior
    colleagues or stakeholders, hear
    what they are saying, if only to
    confirm that they’ve absorbed
    whatever you shared.

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  10. Listen
    • When team members share their
    ideas, listen and ask questions to
    encourage them. Replace a straight
    'No' with a 'Yes, but' if possible.

    • When it comes to written
    communication, reading is equivalent
    to listening. Read very carefully and
    re-read until you've fully grasped
    what was communicated.

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  11. Be proactive
    • Initiate open communication with your
    team members.

    • Have regular 1:1s and drop them an
    email or a Slack/Chat message (being
    mindful about disrupting their focus/

    • Promote healthy intra-team
    communication. Create an atmosphere
    of asking and answering questions

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  12. Be proactive
    • Regularly check that your team
    members aren’t blocked on
    delegated tasks and can handle
    them properly.

    • Reach out only when you're sure
    that your presence won't be a

    • If your team member has a ‘do-
    not-disturb’ sign, then respect
    that if possible.

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  13. Be thorough
    • Be diligent and pay attention to the
    little things.

    • In coaching, mentoring, and
    advocating scenarios, understand
    the needs of your mentees or
    audience, and document those
    needs as action items.

    • When mentoring, try to understand
    what works for your mentee.

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  14. Be thorough
    • Ensure everyone you're
    communicating with is on the same

    • Don't be in a hurry to leave a
    meeting or end a 1:1 if you feel that
    someone is lagging.

    • Encourage repetition and question-
    answer sessions to ensure that
    everyone has understood.

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  15. Document
    • Take notes – just for yourself or for
    others. Notes can help you
    remember tidbits of information
    you wish to convey but may forget.

    • If your writing aims to help others
    learn, then document as legibly and
    concisely as possible.

    • Include the date you created the
    document to help future readers
    estimate its relevance.

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  16. Learn more

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