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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!"
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Leading Questions Podcast
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Now displaying: Category: general
Aug 4, 2020

In this episode, we answer:

My boss has been trying to transition our team from everybody working all the time, day or night to setting realistic expectations for support and holding us to those. It's hard for me to take her seriously when she answers emails day and night within minutes of their arrival. I'm not talking about just high importance emails, but all emails. It's rare for an email that is sent between 6am and 11pm to fail to get a response from her within an hour. Sometimes, she even responds to emails at 2 or 3 in the morning! I don't feel right not paying attention to my emails when sometimes they're from her, and if it's important enough for her to be online at all hours, shouldn't I be too? What do you think she really wants us to do?

And some special treats from us to you:

Don't forget to join us as we read The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford!

Jul 14, 2020

Find out if we're crazy for reading them out of order, but this bookclub episode covers The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim.

The Unicorn Project: A Novel About Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data

Next up, we'll go back and read The Phoenix Project to see how it stacks up with this newer work.

Jul 7, 2020

Our question for this episode is:

I occasionally get invited to do social things with some of my employees and if I'm interested in the event itself I'll go - typically things like video games or even holiday parties. I don't go to every events, but I do go to the ones that sound fun. I'm not playing favorites. But it also means that I have gone to events for less than half of my team. Is that ok?

Don't forget to tune in next week as we discuss Gene Kim's The Unicorn Project!

 

Jun 23, 2020

In this episode, a listener asks:

I have a lot of vacation saved up. There are a few reasons for this. First, our company gives us a lot of vacation. But, second, we don't really get to use it. The team is always working long hours without breaks and if you take a vacation everyone treats you like you killed their cat. Plus, when I get back I just have a bigger pile of work to do.

I've gotten another job that I think that I'll like, but I'm scared to switch and find out its worse or something that I'm not good at. I'm thinking of taking a bunch of my vacation days and starting the new job to see if I like it. I should be able to take a full month off pretty easily, possibly more. Personally, I think this is a great idea. But my friends say if it was a great idea, why doesn't everyone do it?

Don't forget to read along in The Unicorn Project with us, we will be discussing it in our next bookclub episode!

Jun 16, 2020

Join us as we discuss Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers in the latest edition of our bookclub!

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know

For our next book, we are reading The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim.

 

May 26, 2020

In this episode we answer:

At work we have a lot of mandatory "fun" events. If I don't participate, I'm not a team player. However, I don't enjoy them, and I'm here to work. How do I avoid participating and still keep my job?

But we also mention Puppy Monkey Baby and Shytown's "Olive Garden"...we're not proud.

Join us later this week as we discuss Malcolm Gladwell's "Talking to Strangers"

 

May 12, 2020

In this episode we discuss:

I have a coworker who very religious--she does regular prayer luncheons at work and talks about her involvement in various Christian charities and programs, for example. As a rule, it's not an issue in any way at work except, she chastises her coworkers for swearing. Not just the "big words" but shit, damn, hell…everything. It's having an impact on team morale and they are starting to get irritated with her over it. What do I do?

Don't forget to read along with us as we go through Malcolm Gladwell's "Talking to Strangers" for our next bookclub episode!

Apr 30, 2020

This month, we read "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

Next up, we will be reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Talking to Strangers", so join us!

Apr 28, 2020

In this episode, in between rants we answer this question:

My boss hates his job and bitches about it all the time. He doesn't complain to everybody, just to me and a few select others. It's annoying and it makes me not like my job as much. I'm also worried about my coworkers hearing this and it affecting them as well.

Stay tuned later this week as we review "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

Joey Bag o' Donuts

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And, A FUCKING TIMELINE:

Segmented timeline with years and milestone placeholders

Apr 14, 2020

In a very special episode relevant to world events we answer:

The work our company does doesn't lend itself to work from home, and the industry we supply to is dead in the water during the pandemic. Because of this, I've been furloughed for at least one month and probably more like three. What should I be doing with my time off?

Don't forget to read "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool along with us! Coming up after our next podcast...

Over The Top GIFs | Tenor

 

Mar 31, 2020

Now that Jer is done being sick, we're back with this question:

My work takes referrals and recently I referred a friend of mine that I thought would be a good fit for a position we were looking to fill. He went through the interview process and thought he did really well, but then the company sort of ghosted him. I suggested to my friend that he call and ask what was going on and when he did the company's explanation was they had decided to go another way. However, I know they are still looking to fill the role. Is it okay to ask why they didn't hire my friend?

We are currently reading "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. Because of a communication SNAFU, we will be doing this in one month, so look for our review after episode 83!

 

Mar 3, 2020

In this episode, we answer the question:

What am I supposed to do when I feel so busy I can't get things done? How can I get out of this mind set, use it to my advantage, and then influence my team or the people around me with my experience?

Image result for office parkour gif

Don't forget to join us as we read "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

Feb 20, 2020

This month, we read "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. Peterson.

Next up, we will be reading "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

 

Feb 18, 2020

In this episode, we answer:

While working on a dev team a while ago, we were reviewing our job postings as a group to ensure they reflected our actual needs. One of the requirements was for a bachelor's degree. My leader challenged if that was needed, and another said yes. Never one to back down, the first leaders said "Really? Raise your hand if you have a college degree." Very few people present raised their hand - and this was a great team. That meeting has stuck with me for years. Why do companies insist on a Bachelor's degree in their job descriptions? Where do these presumptions come from? How do we work together without them - or better, how do we acknowledge that they aren't needed?

Stay tuned later this week for our discussion of "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. Peterson.

Feb 4, 2020

We're back to single-question episodes with this one:

Recently I was speaking with several other leaders from my company and the subject of Glassdoor came up. One leader mentioned that he'd run into a former employee that hadn't been happy with their experience at the company, and this person said "I should have paid attention to the Glassdoor reviews". The former employee was right - our reviews are terrible, the complaints are legitimate, and the few good reviews sound forced and false. The suggestion from several others in the group of leaders was that we should ask several people who would leave favorable reviews to go on and do so. My take was that would feel just as false as the other positive reviews. What's your take on this situation? Should the leadership ask people they know will leave positive reviews to do so? Wouldn't actually paying attention to the criticism be a better strategy? We're really hurting for resources right now.

As promised, Maddox's rating of a children's drawing of a fire truck!

We are currently reading "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. Peterson, if you want to read along!

Jan 23, 2020

This month's book is "How to do Nothing" by Jenny Odell

Hear Jenny talk about this topic on Adam Conover's (absolutely fantastic) podcast!

For our next book, we read "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. Peterson.

 

Jan 21, 2020

Join us as we continue to ask some of the quick hit questions posed to us over the past couple of years. The questions in this one are:

  1. Do you check the social media of people that work for you?
  2. How do you feel about visible piercings or tattoos on your employees? Does it matter if they talk to customers?
  3. Is it every okay to leave without 2 weeks' notice?
  4. Would you ever take a job you have absolutely no experience with?
  5. How important is grammar or typos in a resume or cover letter or whatever?
  6. How long should it take to get up to speed at a new job?

Don't forget to join us as we discuss "How to do Nothing" by Jenny Odell later this week!

 

Jan 7, 2020

Over the past several years, we've accumulated numerous questions that probably aren't big enough to support an entire episode on their own, so, we bundled a bunch together and rocket through them in this two-part episode! The questions in this one are:

  1. How do you feel about start times/end times or set schedules?
  2. I am planning to quit my job, when do I tell my co-workers? Before or after my boss?
  3. Do you let your company put their software on your phone?
  4. Is it ever okay to say "if this happens I'll quit"?
  5. I like my job but hate a coworker, is it okay to just tell my boss that?
  6. Is it possible to be as successful as a remote worker as a local one?

As promised, pictures of Dawn and her husband next to a tower!

Catch us next episode as we finish up the next set of short questions, and don't forget to read Jenny Odell's "How to do Nothing" along with us!

 

Dec 12, 2019

This month's book is Ben Horowitz's "The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers"

 

Next up...Jenny Odell's "How to Do Nothing", a concept that both of us could stand to learn from.

Dec 10, 2019

In this episode, we respond to the troubling observation...

I think my boss is a racist. He has said things like:

  1.  "I can't hire someone the team won't be able to understand" about two different Indian candidates
  2. He won't send our sole black engineer to client sites because he says it'll make our clients uncomfortable
  3. He recently said that given two equal candidates, he'd pick the white one even if he were a little worse because he'd work harder and have a better culture fit

What should I do? I need this job.

Don't forget to read along with us; we discuss "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz later this week.

 

Nov 26, 2019

This episode's question is...

Why is hiring and recruiting so broken? Why does nobody do it well?

Read along with us as we read "The Hard Things About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz!

Nov 15, 2019

This month's book is Jane McGonigal's "Reality is Broken"

Next month we will discuss "The Hard Things About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz with a completely straight face!

Nov 12, 2019

In this episode, we answer...

As a leader, what is the best way to deal with coworkers who were mistakenly given your salary by upper management? Not only have they disclosed it but it's off by about 35%. How to deal with upper management undermining your leadership without taking a bazooka to upper management and undermining your own relationship with upper management and coworkers?

And stay tuned on Thursday morning for the next bookclub episode where we discuss "Reality is Broken" by Jane McGonigal!

 

Oct 29, 2019

In this episode, we discuss a leader of leaders' struggle with a member of their team over-committing and throwing their team under the bus.

I'm a leader of leaders. One of the leaders on my team has what we'll call a bad habit. At the start of a sprint, he will agree to a certain amount of features to be completed. Without fail, halfway through the sprint, he informs us that "the team" has decided that they can't finish all of the features, or that they will be late in doing so. I'm trying to coach him out of this habit, but it still happens, without fail, every delivery cycle. He seems to feel he's "voicing the concerns of the team", when in reality it feels like he's throwing them under the bus. What else can I say that makes it clear to him that his tactic is both passive-aggressive AND harmful to his team?

Don't forget to read Jane McGonigal's "Reality is Broken" along with us for our bookclub!

Oct 15, 2019

This month, we read "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr.Join us next time as we read Jane McGonigal's "Reality is Broken"!

 

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