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Tech Lead Journal

155 EpisodesProduced by Henry SuryawirawanWebsite

Great technical leadership requires more than just great coding skills. It requires a variety of other skills that are not well-defined, and they are not something that we can fully learn in any school or book. Hear from experienced technical leaders sharing their journey and philosophy for building… read more


#48 - Communicate to Become a Happy & Productive Engineer - Chris Laffra

“A lot of engineers are unhappy and a lot of that has to do with not being able to control their environment, or even articulate what they want to have changed in the environment. By becoming a better communicator, you will also become happier."

Chris Laffra is an experienced and talented software engineer having worked in companies such as IBM, Google, and Uber. His wide variety of experiences ensures Chris understands what motivates engineers, what stresses them out, and how to help them get the most out of themselves. In this episode, Chris shared some insights from his book “Communication for Engineers” about why communication is such an important skill for engineers and how they should learn to improve it to become more impactful engineers. Chris also shared great insights and tips on how to deal with engineers’ typical sources of unhappiness–impostor syndrome, stress, and burnout–in order to become successful, productive, and happy engineers.

Listen out for:

  • Career Journey - [00:04:53]
  • “Communication for Engineers” Book - [00:06:37]
  • Why Engineers Have Difficulty Communicating - [00:09:51]
  • Importance of Communication for Engineers - [00:13:18]
  • Communication for Performance Review and Promotion - [00:21:54]
  • How to Become More Impactful Engineers - [00:30:58]
  • Impostor Syndrome - [00:42:01]
  • How to Deal with Impostor Syndrome - [00:45:18]
  • Handling Burnout - [00:53:58]
  • 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:56:40]


Chris Laffra’s Bio
Chris Laffra is an experienced software engineer with a strong drive to help other engineers grow. Chris has been a manager, tech lead, technical lead manager, advisor, mentor, and staff software engineer with companies such as IBM, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Google, Uber, Plato, and Sourcegraph. This wide variety of experiences ensures Chris understands what motivates engineers, what stresses them out, and how to help them get the most out of themselves. Through decades of personal experience, Chris has analyzed and summarized the topic of software development into numerous blogs, presentations, and books. The summit of his work is his book Communication for Engineers and the accompanying interactive course.

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