Nathan Broslawsky

{ Engineering Leader, Polymath, Optimist }

The Communicator’s Advantage

Good communication is often hailed as a cornerstone of effective teamwork and organizational success. However, it's more than just a buzzword; for skilled communicators, it's a ticket to greater understanding and awareness within their organization. And, coupled with strategic thinking, this organizational awareness can lead to novel insights and solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing our teams and companies. »

A Case for Not Assuming Positive Intent

For the longest time, we’ve been taught to “Assume Positive Intent,” a mantra that encourages us to believe others act in good faith and to suppress the reflexivity of judgment of others when they act in a way that is counter to our own behaviors or values. However, while this is arguably good advice, when blindly applied, this concept can lead to potential downsides. »

Lean Meetings

Meetings are necessary in all businesses, but by taking some guidance from systems thinking and Lean manufacturing, you can make sure you only hold those that are important and effective. »

Make Yourself Obsolete: Your Team Will Thank You

To make space for new leaders to grow, although it may seem counterintuitive and even a bit scary, you must start employing strategies to make yourself obsolete. Finding yourself solving the same problems over and over again is an indication your team isn’t growing to solve these problems for themselves. And, this means that both you and your team are at risk of stagnating. »

Tech Lead Co-Pilots

When tech leads and product managers work as one, so to speak, avenues for compromise, pushback, and the emergence of well-conceived creative strategies are opened. Diverse perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking will be welcomed as everyone feels comfortable to participate, and problem-solving becomes a true team effort. »

Sparring Partners

In the age of the “knowledge worker,” so much of our ability to succeed is dependent on the active exchange of ideas. This is similar to having a “sparring partner” in martial arts or boxing — and being good in that role takes discipline and practice, even if you are not landing any kicks or punches. »

Hey Interviewers: What Is Your Story?

If you enter interviews with potential team members with the mindset of grilling them, you’re missing out on a wonderful opportunity for storytelling. While learning about job candidates’ capabilities is certainly important, so, too, is providing them with a glimpse into who you are, as well as what it’s like to be a member of the team and what the company is all about. This style of communication, based on authenticity, is apt to be a boon to your hiring efforts. »

Demo Day

The demo is a quintessential component for enabling a team to tell their story and outwardly represent their team’s culture and achievements. Yet, so many teams approach their demo reactively and lose this valuable opportunity. By reframing their demos as a cornerstone of the execution process, teams can craft a long-running narrative to keep their audience engaged and coming back for more. »

The Intuition Gap

Beneath the pressure all engineering leaders face to “move faster” are a set of assumptions held by others. These assumptions are instinctive and based on an intuition that is deeply personal to every individual. As leaders, it is our responsibility to bridge this gap between intuition and reality to ensure our teams are set up for success. »

Leading Sweep

There’s a concept in motorcycling, specifically on group rides, known as “the Sweep,” the last rider in the pack. This role offers a compelling metaphor in organizational leadership, especially when contrasted with the more visible Road Captain. »

Proposals and Braintrusts

"Proposals and Braintrusts" is a systematic approach to collaborative problem solving involving the identification of a problem statement, the clarity and self-introspection of writing, a feedback and revision process, and real-time group discourse. Teams that employ each of these techniques are creating multiple opportunities for perspectives to shape and improve their proposals. »

A Week In Review

Each week, I carve out time to write my “Week in Review.” This ritual affords me space and time to step back from the fire-of-the-week to rebuild my mental model about the strategic, long-term vision of what we’re trying to accomplish. »

Improvisational Leadership

There’s a lot in common between leadership and the improvisation that you find in music and comedy. Improvisers aren’t just “making it up.” They are crafting a story in real-time that represents everything they’ve learned over years of honing their skills. They are moving forward even though they don’t know what’s coming up next — but with the confidence that they will be able to handle it. »

In Search of the Perfect Candidate

Hiring for your team comes down to being able to effectively describe your ideal candidate. Adding rigor to and removing bias from the interview process involves a great deal of introspection, peer review, and iteration. This post provides a guide you can follow. »

A Reorganization Of Time

Time is a finite resource. Our responsibilities and expectations, however, are not. To ensure we are able to make the best use of our time, it is valuable to analyze the work that we take on, the attention we’re able to devote to it, and the context switching that is required throughout the day. »

Do You Have Any Feedback For Me?

For those who struggle to get meaningful feedback from their manager or peers, there is hope. The way we ask for feedback can help influence how it is delivered and improve the odds of it being constructive and actionable now and in the future. »

The Power of "It Depends"

As an organization grows in size and complexity, process and structure will be introduced to make sense and codify that complexity. However, it carries with it the risk that these systems will begin to interfere with the type of collaboration that breeds creativity. »

Scrum Team Management

Having team members organized in different cross-functional Product Teams or Scrum Teams can bring a tremendous amount of value to an organization. Unfortunately, the role of the manager of those team members can be ambiguous if not deliberately established. By leveraging one-on-ones, becoming an expert in pattern matching, focusing on long-term professional development, and developing systems for acquiring and delivering feedback, the manager can leverage this structure to improve the employee experience and develop leaders within the organization. »

Agile as a Communication Framework

The root cause of the frustrations that many teams experience adopting Agile or Scrum is that they embrace the ceremonies, rather than the communication framework that it offers. If teams focus first on the types of conversations available to them, they will more effectively (and efficiently) be able to operate as a team, execute on a shared plan, hold each other accountable on a daily basis, and feed the lessons back into the system. »

The Right Manager

As increasing emphasis is put on developing leaders, an often-overlooked aspect is if the employee actually has the right manager for them. »

Managing Without Authority

Companies of a certain size — that is, somewhere after “hmmm, we really should get some managers…” and before “crap, our managers don’t have time to manage people because they’ve got too much work to do!” — start to encounter growing pains that come from having increasingly limited visibility into all the pieces of the big, technical machine. To overcome this, companies need to develop and nurture a management philosophy that ensures authority and accountability are held by the people closest to »

The Contributor, The Manager, and the Leader

Affecting change in an organization is possibly one of the most mysterious and baffling parts about professional life. There are countless books, podcasts, and blogs available about how to influence others, how to maximize your impact on the company, and how to grow your team. The lessons provided in that wide sea of content are fantastically valuable if applied in the right way and in the right context.In my experience, there are three types of Change Agents: The Contributor, The Manager, and T »

Leadership Lessons from the Escape Room

Escape Rooms have been growing in popularity over the past few years, and interestingly, these activities are a great case study in team dynamics. I had the pleasure of experiencing these interpersonal interactions in my latest visit to an escape room: my son’s 12th birthday party with 9 of his 12-year-old friends.The great thing about a group of 12 year olds is the uninhibited excitement. This also means that absolutely nothing is left reserved or internalized when it comes to frustration, insp »


Manager READMEs have been all the rage over the past few years, and thanks to the inspiration I have received from many other managers and mentors, as well as encouragement from my own team, I have put together a version of my own.On What This IsThe goal of this document is to share a bit about me and to give you a better idea of how best we can work together: how I operate, what I value, and what I’m trying to improve. And while I hope that this is representative and descriptive, I cannot prete »