Lead by Connecting (With) People


People are social creatures. We constantly create and crave connections.

So shouldn’t you lead the same way?

Leadership is hard.

Improving takes time, effort, and dedication - both on the part of the leaders and those following them.

Begin your journey towards improving your leadership skills and turning your team into a high-performing team with the Software Leadership Seminar.


Course Overview

Week 1: Onboarding & Teambuilding

Experience the power of self-organizing teams, forming a team identity, building shared goals, and creating working agreements. Work within the team to meet your individual learning needs, and help others meet theirs.

Week 2: Create a safe environment

Psychological, emotional, and physical safety is a pre-requisite for creating high-performing technical teams. Without it, people and teams resist change, stop learning, hoard information, point fingers, and blame-storm.

Week 3: Build trust through transparency

It's easy to think you have to have all the answers, or people won't respect you.  Yet, learning to say "I don't know - let's find out" is an important step in building teams who are engaged and motivated. Learn to "lay your cards on the table" to collaboratively problem-solve with your team (instead of against them!)

Week 4: Offering and receiving feedback

Without feedback from your team, you're driving blind, liable to crash without warning. Offering and getting feedback requires a safe environment, a trust relationship, and giving them a reason to take the risk. Learn strategies to effectively offer and receive feedback - and inquire when you're not getting what you need.

Week 5: Navigating change

Change is a constant, thrust upon us from internal and external forces. Managers may be unaware of when they are changing things. Worse, many are ineffective at achieving the changes they want. All of this causes chaos for teams.

Learn to use proven methods to navigate change, and create learning loops which allow your team to adapt to changing business needs.


"Our work is too important to be taken seriously." - Edith Seashore

Instead, we'll work, discuss, learn, and laugh together through live problem-solving activities over Zoom videoconference.

No videos, no lectures, no quizzes, no gimicks.

Instead, you'll build practical leadership skills through engineering exercises and simulations which you can use immediately.

You'll come away with a clearer sense of your leadership style, options for working with your team, and hands-on experiments to build leadership skills.

There's not another technical leadership training like it on the planet - guaranteed.


Upcoming Session

The next session begins in January 2020.

This is a five-week, experiential leadership course for technical leaders and managers:

  1. A 3-hour live learning session each week
  2. Sessions take place each Tuesday from 8:30am to 11:30am Pacific USA
    • January 14, 2020
    • January 21, 2020
    • January 28, 2020
    • February 4th, 2020
    • February 11th, 2020
  3. Hands-on leadership experiments you can do with your team.
  4. Discuss between sessions in Slack
  5. Participate in any timezone on the planet.
  6. Apply it within any process, from scrum, agile, #NoEstimates or (gasp!) waterfall.
  7. Works with any language, framework, platform, or tooling.

Early Bird Pricing until December 1, 2019


Afterwards, the regular price is $2,295.

Applications for SLS are now open.


Wanna chat? Got questions about SLS?

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Need to level-up your team fast?

Want a program customized for your team?

Consider a custom, in-person workshop.

If your team (or managers) need to improve fast, then an in-person workshop might be right for you.  We create customized 1-4 day workshops tailored to your needs and deliver them on-site or virtually.

Custom leadership and teamwork training prices start at $9,970.

The first step?  Get in touch and let's chat. Drop us a line at marcus@marcusblankenship.com

The "You gotta be happy!" Guarantee

After going through this course, if you decide this was a waste of your time, I'll immediately give 100% of your money back, no questions asked.  I want you to be happy with your decision.  No questions asked.

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?

That depends on you.  Sessions are held via video weekly at 8:30 am Pacific USA time. If you can make that work, then we'd love to see you!

"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

Your Instructors

Hi, I’m Marcus 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, and helped companies like Box, Netflix, and PayPal grow effective technical leaders.

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 developer thinks, “I have the best boss in the world!”

Hi, I’m Peter Ellis. I’m a software technical lead with a background in information management and a heavy interest in making information work for others. I've been programming professionally for 13 years and am a certified Scrum Master.

I hold a Master of Science in Information Management from the University of Washington Information School and have worked primarily in academia, as well as federal and state government.

As an alumni of the very first round of Software Leadership Seminar, I now help Marcus continually improve the course and prove a non-management perspective on leadership and team development. I look forward to talking about software and leadership with you!

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