Chris Bee, CTO of Lessen

Identifying the behaviors of effective engineering leaders

In Season 2, Episode 6 of Lead Time Chats, Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, chats with Chris Bee, CTO at Lessen, about the common behaviors of effective engineering leaders.

Chris and Jean discuss:

  • The difficulty in delegating and letting go of control - and why it's so important
  • Dialing in your judgement in making decisions that keep the business needs front and center
  • Common mistakes, such as over-doing it with structure and processes when you become a manager
  • Coaching and career development conversations as ways to amplify your impact

Takeaways from Chris

Amplify your own impact as a people leader

“There's a sort of a multiplier effect that you're able to create as a people leader. Where as an IC, one hour of work equals one hour of output. But as a leader, one hour of work in a coaching or guidance or career advice style environment can equal hundreds of hours of productive work.”

Get comfortable with not doing everything yourself

“It's especially challenging when you are a skilled IC, and you can solve a problem yourself very quickly. Spending the extra time to coach somebody or to help somebody along or let them maybe do it in a way that'd be different from how you would approach it... it's another thing to get comfortable with. You have to get comfortable with that. Losing some of that control.”

Take business goals and needs into account when making decisions

“There's a tendency sometimes for shiny object syndrome as people start to get into leadership roles. They have that tech debt project they really want to work on and they have that new technology they want to go pursue, a new framework or new language they think is interesting. And yeah, there's some merit to that, and of course, technical curiosity and excitement towards those disciplines is reason why they're engineers in the first place, and that's a good thing to embrace. However, I think balancing that against the needs of the business and being able to make, you know, good well-reasoned decisions with some sense of urgency and some sense of where the business is headed and the goals that we're trying to reach are important to keep in mind.”

Ease off the excessive structure and process

“Keep the environment and the structure and the process that you develop lightweight and set up in a way that gets people excited to come into work every day. Don't go too deep off the "I'm a manager now, I need to create structure and process everything that we're going to do as a team." I've seen people do that, where you end up over-processing teams and over-thinking about how they're supposed to work together and you miss some of just the natural evolution of you'll get there as the team evolves.”

Enjoy Lead Time Chats?

Please leave us a rating or review on iTunes! It'll help these chats get in front of more engineers and leaders like yourself.

Don't miss any episodes!

  • Subscribe to the Lead Time Chats podcast on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, so you don’t miss any episodes.
  • Join Lead Time Community, where we'll post new Season 2 episodes weekly. Lead Time Community is a place to connect, share, and grow with other engineering leaders.

About Lead Time Chats

Listen in on unscripted conversations between Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range and engineering leadership coach, and engineering leaders and other influential folks in tech.

Lead Time Chats is brought to you by Range. Range helps hybrid teams check-in asynchronously about what matters most. Know what's happening through status updates that pull from tools like Github and JIRA without scheduling yet another meeting.

Checking-in with Range creates more focus time for heads-down work, all while feeling a deeper sense of connection and belonging with your team. To learn more about Range, you can check it out here.

Season 2 Episodes

» Episode 1: Camille Fournier on making boring plans

» Episode 2: Tess Rinearson on early career engineering managers

» Episode 3: Kim Scott on building for systemic justice

» Episode 4: Sumeet Arora on moving on from a big company

» Episode 5: Rachael Stedman on IC manager work

Season 1 Episodes

» Episode 1: Will Larson on the path of the senior engineer

» Episode 2: Duretti Hirpa on mentoring junior and mid-level engineers

» Episode 3: Cate Huston on working with an external coach

» Episode 4: Juan Pablo Buriticá on common eng manager mistakes

» Episode 5: Gergely Orosz on the decision to go into management

» Episode 6: Lara Hogan on leading effectively in a pandemic

» Episode 7: Kaya Thomas on common early career engineer challenges

» Episode 8: Uma Chingunde on starting a VPE role in a pandemic

» Episode 9: Katie Wilde on supporting your team's mental health

» Episode 10: Akhil Gupta on navigating uncertainty in new roles

» Episode 11: Harper Reed on giving everyone a voice in team meetings

» Episode 12: Marc Hedlund on sponsorship

Try Range for Free

No credit cards required to practice better teamwork.
Smile EmojiChart EmojiStar EmojiSweat-Smile Emoji
Lead Time Chats: Chris Bee, CTO of Lessen
  • Share with twitter
  • Share with linkedin
  • Share with facebook