Note: I’m now on a career break and no longer in a manager role, but I still live by many of these values and practices.
The following post is a way to:
- Explain my role and describe what you can expect from me
- Explain my values so you can hold me accountable for them
This post doesn’t:
- Attempt to set expectations for your role
- Define our roadmap
- To attract, retain, and develop world-class engineers who A) align with our company values and B) can self-organize and achieve our company vision.
- To provide context to your work so that you’ll know how your day-to-day tasks help us achieve our greater mission.
In short, if I leave for a month, everything should continue running smoothly.
We’ll have a 30-minute one-on-one (1:1) meeting, at minimum, every other week. I’ll occasionally use this time to ask you about workload and status, but this is mainly a time to have real talk. Tell me what’s on your mind. Ask difficult questions. I may also use this time to ask what feedback you have for me. If you don’t have any, don’t sweat it, but know that it’s perfectly safe (and encouraged) to share constructive feedback.
I take our communication pretty seriously. You can Slack me anytime during work or after-hours. I get a notification on my phone, so as long as my phone is nearby, I should respond quickly. I also check email regularly throughout the day and semi-regularly in the evenings. If you send me an email, and it needs immediate attention, text me to “check my email.”
I’ll sometimes ask you to tackle a task. If I’m not explaining it clearly, I’m not doing my job correctly. Let me know if I’m confusing you.
Candor is important. As we work together, I expect you to be open with important feedback or information, e.g., feedback on my performance or where things are going wrong. I imagine you expect the same from me. You also should know that there are times when I’m asked to withhold certain sensitive and confidential information passed down from upper management. However, I will never lie to you, nor should the company expect me to. If you ask, I will provide as much information as I can reasonably give.
I’m here to serve you. I believe that you, as an individual contributor, are more important than me. While my title is “manager,” I believe that we work together rather than you work for me. You work for our company, so serve the company’s mission. I’m here to help you do this effectively. My goal is to help you enjoy being here and steadily improve at your job over time. If you don’t feel good about your work or career trajectory, let’s talk about it.
I believe in you and your desire to do the right thing. If you fail at something or make a mistake, my first assumption is that I failed to set expectations with you properly, or you didn’t get the right information. I know you’re smart and well-meaning. It’s why we hired you.
There’s what’s important, and there’s everything else. It’s not important that you show up to every one of our 1:1 meetings on time, but it is important that we build a good working relationship and take advantage of our 1:1 time. It’s not important to me that you have 100% attendance at work, but it is important to develop a reputation for “showing up” with your team. I don’t sweat the small stuff, and I avoid micromanagement. Have fun and do the right thing.
I aim to be a “Pro.” Here’s how I define Pro:
- Show up when you’re supposed to show up.
- Deliver what’s due when it’s due.
- Always aim for your highest quality work.
Two-way feedback is essential. I will give you the feedback you need to do your job effectively. Know that getting constructive feedback is recoverable, and it’s never a representation of you as a person. When I provide this feedback, I intend to be on your team and your biggest fan who’s holding up warning signs to help you back on course. I also believe in giving positive feedback quite often. Lastly, I’ll regularly ask you for feedback on my performance. Know that you’re encouraged to be honest. Positive feedback is fun, but critical feedback is highly regarded and respected.
I’m an introvert. But it’s not a big deal. Big groups tire me out a bit, and I typically keep myself in those settings, but I love chatting with you. It’s my favorite part of the job.
I take a stoic approach. I value calmness and discipline. All of my worst snap decisions in life happened when I lost my cool. In my first job out of college doing IT Support, our servers crashed, and we were locked out of the server room. My boss’s first words were, “Take a deep breath and relax.” That’s stuck with me ever since.
Here are some of the books that have influenced my leadership style:
- The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
- Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
- Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
- Essentialism by Greg Mckeown
- The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
- Multipliers by Liz Wiseman and Greg Mckeown
- 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
- High Output Management by Andrew Grove
- Accelerate by Nicole Forsgren
In reading over this post, I encourage you to find areas where I’m not meeting these goals and principles and hold me accountable where necessary. Reach out to me if you have any specific feedback on its contents.