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Becoming a Technical Leader


MOI Model of Leadership

Motivation: trophies or trouble, push and pull that moves people

Organization: provide the structure that enables ideas to be worked through into practice

Ideas or Innovation: the seeds of what will become

People are stronger in some areas than others. Might be higher on the Motivation, weaker on organization or innovation, etc.

Understanding the Problem

Resolve arguments by referring back to the original problem

Refer back to the specs after work has proceeded for a while, when implications of things are better understood.

Managing the flow of ideas

Too many ideas means chaos. Four people make a mob. Even God quit thinking up new species after six days.

Spend some time mastering tactics, but don’t forget to look for new strategies.


#1 Self-blindness, #2 “No problem”, #3 Single Solution fallacy

A real problem has one more solution that nobody has thought of yet.

Tech star’s #1 obstacle is lack of awareness of other peoples’ reactions. This type of person’s more like a chief surgeon than a sports coach.

When communicating, there’s always some fidelity loss. It generally lays out like so:

  1. sensory input. Sight, sound of voice, words used
  2. interpretation. Understanding of message that was sent
  3. feeling. Feeling about the interpretation.
  4. feeling about the feeling. Feeling about the feeling. Relates largely to one’s self-worth, past etc.
  5. defense. Or lack thereof.
  6. rules for commenting. Politeness, protocols, etc.
  7. outcome. Verbal and physical utterance

To cure these missteps, try to understand the receiver’s point of view and explain yours clearly.
When doing thought work:

  • Understand the problem
  • Manage the flow of ideas
  • Maintain quality

“That the birds of worry and care fly above your head, this you cannot change; but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.” Chinese proverb

Multiplicative Grading for Leaders and Employees

The high is one. If they’re a 1 for tech knowledge, but a .50 for personality, then 1 * .5 = .5 - not an average. So ideally you’d be a 1 for all facets, but if not, watch out.