Chapter 9. Communication as Craft

Patrick Pena

We all maintain a mental model of our craft, the skills and measurements we use to know that we are effective at our jobs. There’s a change to that definition that happens when you transition into a leadership role. The skills that made you an effective engineer—your technical abilities—are not the ones you need to be an effective leader. The way that you provide value is through your ability to have impact on your team instead of your individual productivity. To be effective in leading people, you need to develop your communication skills and abilities. Here are some key concepts that should help you in your journey.

What we say is not always what others hear
We all have filters through which we process information. I can say something in a one-on-one on Monday, and by Tuesday I’m hearing I said something slightly different from someone else on my team. The more time that goes by, the more the message changes. If you want your message to be consistently heard, try delivering it through different medium and more frequently than you think is needed.
Meet people where they are
There’s two parts to this one. You should consider how they think and process information. How you form a meaningful connection. Everyone also has preferences around how they like to communicate. Some people prefer Slack, some prefer email, others prefer in-person conversations. It is your job to learn what they prefer and to meet them there. Remember, you ...

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