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Are you stuck in the manager mindset?

Ask yourself:

  • Would production grind to a halt if you took a month’s vacation?
  • Are you exhausted trying to keep up with everything?
  • Do you have to be in the middle of every decision?
  • Do you have to push every project forward or it goes nowhere?
  • Does your team endlessly debate new technologies, without shipping on-time?
  • Do you find yourself coding too much?
  • Are you, your user’s (or your boss) frustrated by how long it takes to get anything done?
  • Do you know your team's capable of being great, but you're out of ideas?
  • Are people's egos and negativity getting in the way?

I've got news for you:

Your team probably isn't the problem.

The problem is that you're managing when you should be leading.

Pause for a minute and consider the difference.  Managing applies to things, which is why we say that we "manage our money", "manage our time", "manage our code", "manage our website content", etc.

No one ever said, "I need to lead my money better."  That's just silly.

But you must learn to lead people.

Yes, many bosses (micro)manage their programmers. And, for a while, it can even seem like it’s working. However, it’s an outdated practice born of an assembly line and factory management that was never meant as a means of developing software in the 21st century.

Your team is already motivated… but you’re killing their mojo. They can do a lot more, but something’s holding them back. They don’t offer ideas, take risks, or dream big. Instead, they complain, play it safe and wait to be told what to do.

Managing your programmers actually turns them into ‘code monkeys’.
Treating motivated, educated, experienced programmers like code-monkeys is as absurd as Steve Jobs to fix your MacBook, or Picasso to paint your house.

You're not alone.
I've been a pointy-haired boss.  I never wanted to one, but was an easy trap to fall into. I was a micromanaging boss for years because it’s how I was managed, and how my boss expected me to manage others. Even when it felt wrong, I still kept doing it, because I didn’t know any other way.

Coming Soon

We'll keep you posted by email.

If you’re ready to escape the management trap, but don’t know how to start leading, you should take my Software Leader Seminar.

Manage robots, lead people.

25 video lessons • Hands-on Exercises • Weekly live sessions • 24/7 peer discussion • 100 days of content • Only 50 students

The Software Leader Seminar curriculum includes video lessons and hands-on exercises on 25 different topics including how to:

  • Stop (micro)managing your team immediately
  • Identify your default leadership style (and use other styles when appropriate)
  • Build loyalty and trust within your team
  • Build an environment where everyone can contribute to problem-solving
  • Effectively coach, rather than command, your team
  • Continually improve your team through 'leadership experiments'
  • Use 1:1 meetings to build trust with each member of your team
  • Help poor performers improve with honest, productive feedback
  • Improve your work by receiving candid feedback
  • Handle disrespect, ego, politics, arrogance, and code-hoarding
  • Teach your team how to self-improve with structured learning cyclesEnergize your team by aligning their efforts with outcomes
  • Use annual evaluation tools as self-directing opportunities
  • Find the joy in leading high-performing software teams!


Who's this for?

Software Managers • Tech Leads • Team Leads • Programmers • Analysis • VPEs • Project Managers • ScrumMasters • Engineering Managers• Digital Producers • Directors • Owners • Software Architects • Senior Programmers • and more

Software Leader Seminar starts September 2018

This is a twelve-week, virtual, hands-on tech leadership course, featuring:

  • You can expect to spend two hours per week watching lessons, reading responses and discussing ideas.
  • Each week you will have an opportunity to do a hands-on Leadership Experiment at work.
  • Twice a month we'll have a 90m Q&A time where you can get help.
  • You can participate in lessons, discussion and office hours from any timezone on the planet.
  • You can apply it within any process, from agile, #NoEstimates or (gasp!) waterfall.
  • You can apply it to any type of Development / QA / DevOps / Design team.
  • You can discuss ideas and get help with our slack channel
  • You will get out of it what you put into it.
  • You'll get more out of it by bringing a friend along, and then discuss it together.
  • If you get busy, go on vacation or simply fall behind, you can catch-up at your pace.  We'll all start together, but you can finish at your own pace.
  • Only 50 participants will be in the first class.


Regular price: $1,297

Introductory price for September 2018 cohort:


(Each session is limited to 50 students.  No exceptions.)

Coming Soon

Sales start in late July.  Put your name on the list to be notified first.

Sounds good, but I have questions.

I'm too busy to put something new into practice.

It might seem like you’re too busy to take another class, another training, or implement another practice, but that’s short-sighted.  It’s not difficult to imagine how busy you will be if your team can't deliver on time. If you’re already “too busy”, building a high-performance environment is one of your most important initiatives.

I'm not a good enough manager to inspire people to be loyal.

Nah!  If you can learn to code (a completely foreign thing to humans!) you can learn to relate to another human being.  This isn’t rocket science, and like any skill, it can be learned with a bit of practice.

I'll be unable to put these ideas into practice where I work.

I have never found an organization where these practices could not be implemented, from agencies, to start-ups, to enterprises.  Like anything worth doing, it will require effort on your part, but you will not be alone.

I don't have the authority to make changes needed to keep my developers happy.

Your boss doesn’t want to see turnover either, so he’s also motivated to keep your best people.  We’ll explore how you can work with upper management to create the kind of environment your people need to be happy and productive.

Will this work in any timezone?

Yes.  You can read/watch the lesson at your convenience, and participate in discussions anytime.  I will rotate the time office hours take place to support people around the world.

"I require every new manager that reports to me to sign up for Marcus's newsletter, and often discuss it in staff meetings. Leadership with a capital "L" is a real part of the discipline I now bring to the coaching experience with my team.

I continue to work one-on-one with Marcus to this day, and I hope I will always be able to lean on him and dialog about challenges.

He is worth way more than you can ever pay him."

Andrew Coven, Director of Content Acquisition Engineering, Netflix

Who is Marcus Blankenship?

Hi, I’m Marcus Blankenship and was a Team Lead, Software Manager, and CTO for the better part of nineteen years. I’ve spoken at conferences, led workshops on technical leadership around the US, coached CTOs, and helped companies like Box, Netflix, JELD-WEN, PayPal and others create high-performing software teams and grow effective technical leaders.

I’ve lead software teams which build products that delivered over $1 BILLION in sales, spanned six continents, and included hundreds of people. These days I routinely command an effective hourly rate of $2000+ per hour.

The unconscious acceptance of (micro)management as the only option for leading technical teams is a collective hallucination that literally keeps me up at night. In fact, I dream of a future where every programmer thinks, “I have the best boss in the world!”

Care to join me? You’ll be glad you did (and your team will thank you!)

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