Leading Questions Podcast

We are Dawn Kuczwara and Jer Lance; technologists, leaders, and (most importantly) opinionated people who want to draw from our wealth of experience in becoming leaders and leading teams to help answer your questions. If you'd like yours answered, email us and we'd be happy to "help!"
RSS Feed Subscribe in iTunes
Leading Questions Podcast


All Episodes
Now displaying: Page 1
May 23, 2017
This episode's question:
I was looking into doing some contract work recently and I found the process a bit strange. After filling out a questionnaire and two meetings at restaurants, I was given a "homework" assignment. The assignment itself was basically a mini project in the platform I would be working on, but after spending 10 hours on it and only being halfway through, I realized that I didn't really want to take on this extra work because it paid hourly slightly less than what I made at my full time job and I was struggling to keep up with my personal responsibilities, so it just didn't feel worth it. So I have a few questions. Is it common (or even feasible) to do contract work on top of a full time job? How many hours should one reasonably expect to be able to work without affecting their full time job? What is the hiring process for contract work normally like?
Interesting Notes:
  • Number of hours in a week, 168 (not 140 or 3000 Jer)
  • "Ephemeral" (not "efurmurmurmur" Dawn)
  • Go and see Dawn speak at ThatConference in Wisconsin
May 9, 2017
Yanni Kuznia, COO of Subterranean Press, and I spent this episode at Penguicon hanging out with our fellow geeks, answering some quick-hit questions from our inbox, and fielding a few more from the audience. Questions covered here include:
  • How do we reconcile our statements that "firing is failure" and that one should "coach up or coach out"?
  • How do you deal with teammates that have a hygiene or odor issue?
  • How do you train to be a leader? What classes should one take?
  • How do you avoid feeling as though you have to explain your every decision to your team?
  • How do you handle a situation where a person to whom you report is making a bad decision that will have a big impact?
Download this episode
Apr 25, 2017
This episode's question:
So I have an employee who is very good at what he does as long as he has a schedule, a set of boundaries, clear process, and he can "discuss" whatever is going on at that moment multiple times per hour. He is also a full on man-child with absolutely no capability of self management or accountability and freaks out at the slightest amount of stress or pressure. Last night, he mentioned taking a day off the following week. I asked him if it was truly needed as the partners had noticed a bit of a trend lately. I suggested that if he really needed the day off, that he should take it, but if he would be able to just come in an hour late or skip out over lunch, that would have a better appearance at the moment. He agreed, and asked if anything was going on, and I assured him that I was just making sure there wasn't the appearance of a problem. He called later in the evening expressing frustration at what he called "mixed messages" about our work from home and PTO policies. He felt that PTO and work from home were offered, but it was frowned upon for him to use them. I explained that it is offered to be used as a tool, but not so much that it becomes an issue. I reminded him that he used PTO or work from home 5 times in three weeks, mostly working from home. He seems to think that this is what the policy is there for and cannot understand how he's supposed to manage when things like a flat tire comes up. How can I explain this to him? What could I have done differently?
Words that Dawn made up this episode:
  • Squinky
Apr 12, 2017
This episode's question:
Should you be friends with your leader? Should you be friends with people you lead?
The conferences we mentioned this episode:  
Mar 28, 2017
This episode's question:
Someone on my team just got offered a promotion to a different job title; currently he is an QA analyst but has been operating as an SDET. He interviewed for and was accepted for an SDE position (not SDET) on our mobile team. The offer they gave him is roughly 20k below industry average but since he already works here he seems to be in a harder place to negotiate, any ideas?
Links from this episode:
Mar 14, 2017
This episode's question:
What does a manager/leader do? What makes a good manager/leader?
Feb 28, 2017
This episode's question:
How do you teach/groom soft skills in technical people that lack them, or even that express an active disdain for them?
References from this episode:

What if every person you come across is doing the best they can to meet needs you can understand and recognize in yourself, even when their strategies are not to your liking?

  Download this episode
Feb 14, 2017
This episode's question:
How do you identify people who have leadership qualities on your team and give them opportunities to practice those skills before they come into power themselves?
References from this episode:  
Jan 31, 2017
This episode's question:
How do you motivate an employee who does "good enough" work to get them to that "drinking the koolaid" level of excitement?
References from this episode:  
Jan 17, 2017
This episode's question is:
Can you please lend advice as to how a person in the Leadership role can encourage the passions of a team, (as a whole, and as individuals) while ensuring emotion based actions are not the end result? Recently I've had numerous team members confusing the passion for a project with their own emotionally based actions within the project. Example: Some team members have disliked decisions [I have] made, and in their protests of the decisions, acted from emotions, throwing forth behavior that could be considered immature; [things like] "I will quit if you don't agree. This is who I am and how I act. It's passionate, which you said is, good!" How [do I] put forth the concept of passion for the project versus individually based emotions?
The talk referenced and grossly misattributed was "Passion is 💩" by Jay Harris.
Jan 3, 2017
This episode's question is:
How do you create an environment that is conducive to asking for and receiving help?
The books referenced in this episode were: Download this episode
Dec 20, 2016
Welcome to our first episode! Because this is brand new, we were forced to dig through our emails, IMs, and social media to find questions that we have been asked in the past that we thought would kick things off nicely--and what better way to start something new than a question about the end of something. This episode's question:
I just got fired by my employer. I thought that I was doing better and that I wasn’t at risk, but they let me go. I’m just wondering what do I do now? Where should I look for work? What should I tell my next employer? This really stings, being my first professional job. I could really use some advice.
Download this episode