Many managers come from a technical background, and they are tasked with managing teams of experts. They will be faced with strategic dilemmas and tactical trade-offs on a daily basis.

Often times, they will try to solve these issues themselves by using their domain expertise and technical skills. However, this can lead to a number of issues including lack of communication and blind spots from viewpoints outside their own.


There are a lot of different skills that go into effective leadership, and communication is one of them. Being able to communicate with different people in various situations and tailor your message to their needs is essential for any leader. This also includes being able to convey information clearly and concisely, eliminating jargon and reducing ambiguity.

For example, if you are leading software engineers in the development of a new product, it is important for you to be able to explain complex technical issues to non-technical stakeholders. This will help ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page and understands what they are working towards.

Technical leadership involves balancing the need to innovate and drive technical change with the need to support day-to-day operations and business processes. It requires a high level of technical knowledge, domain expertise, and leadership capability to provide the right balance.


Technical leaders need to be able to collaborate with teams. This often involves facilitating meetings, providing technical feedback and assisting team members with their tasks.

It also means being a role model by sharing technical knowledge with others in the organization and helping them become better at their jobs. This is a major responsibility that requires the leader to invest significant time in maintaining her technical skills, which helps build credibility with the organization and marketplace.

The best collaborative leaders understand that a project or business initiative is not something that can be solved by one individual, or even one department. Most problems are interdisciplinary, and all parts of the organization need to work together to find solutions.

Technical experts who become leaders may get sucked into the detail of their specific domain, which can make them less effective at collaborating. They can fall prey to the “expert’s bias,” believing that they have the only correct solution, and develop blind spots when it comes to viewpoints outside their own. It’s important for a collaborative leader to have excellent facilitation skills, which help ensure the team has productive discussions and meets its goals.


We live in a complex, ever-changing environment full of things that break down or don’t function as intended. Problem-solving skills help us identify those situations and figure out how to fix them.

The first step of problem-solving is to determine whether there is a problem at all. Identifying the nature of the problem takes careful observation, investigation and fact-finding. This step is critical because it allows you to clearly communicate the problem to others and enables one of many problem-solving strategies to be applied.

Great problem solvers also understand that there are often multiple possible solutions to any given situation. They take the time to consider all of the options before selecting a course of action.

It is important for technical leaders to have strong domain knowledge in their areas of expertise. This knowledge helps them to make informed decisions, stimulate creativity and provide their teams with valuable insights that can improve processes. However, having domain knowledge can also create an “expert bias” that prevents the leader from listening to other viewpoints or seeking out alternatives.


Many technical leaders begin their careers as experts in a particular field. Organizations value these skills and promote people from within to leadership positions. They also expect these experts to maintain their technical expertise, so that they can be problem-solvers and stimulate creativity on the team. However, this can lead to the “expert’s bias” where leaders become too confident in their own technical abilities and are unable to listen to other points of view.

Having strong decision-making skills helps you avoid this trap. You can take a systematic approach to problem-solving by documenting all possible solutions, and then relaying them to the team during a meeting. Then, you can evaluate the pros and cons of each solution to make a choice that will benefit your team.

Great technical leaders also understand the importance of fostering trust with their teams. This means that they will not micromanage their teams, but instead let them get on with their work without them looking over their shoulders. They know that a healthy relationship with their team members is necessary for productivity and morale.


Technical experts tend to become involved in the work they are completing and sometimes forget about leadership tasks like coaching and mentoring their teams. This can be a problem because it sends the message that their team members are not trusted, which can lead to decreased productivity and an overall demoralized environment.

Engineers with strong technical skills often assume they should make all the decisions for their teams because they are the most knowledgeable on the subject. This can actually be a detriment to the team’s growth, because it is important for engineering leaders to delegate work and allow others to solve problems.

Having the ability to influence is an important component of becoming a successful technical leader. A powerful way to sway opinions is through making logical arguments, using facts to support your point of view. This helps you stay away from untruths or embellishments that can hurt your credibility and reputation. You can also improve your influencing skills by networking and building relationships with people in your industry. This can help you get the resources and support you need when facing challenging situations.

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