What is this, even?
I have heard about manager readme from a colleague and was keen to try it out by myself. The readme is a way to:
- introduce myself as a person
- give you some insights into my role
- give you some insights into how I work
- help you to get to known me more generally
- answer some likely questions
- This isn’t some grand statement of intent or any such thing
- NOT meant as a replacement for actually getting to know each other
- The document will change over time as it’s still work in progress
This is me
Most of my time I spent with my wife and dog. I love to be in nature, reading/listening to fantasy books, playing pen-and-paper games and visiting middle age markets.
I’m the Engineering Team Leader of an SRE team in Sage CloudOps department. My Job at minimum is to:
- Help my team to engage, retain and grow as world-class talents
- Protect my team from distractions
- Provide context
If I accomplish my goals it means that:
- You are empowered to figure out what you need to do and how you think it should be done and then get it done
- You have room to grow as an individual
- You have enough context to understand your priority and focus
- You’re very good at your job. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. If it feels like I’m questioning you, it’s because I’m either:
- trying to gather context, or
- trying to be a sounding board and rubber duck
- You’ll let me know if you can’t do your job. One of my main responsibilities is ensuring that you’re set up for success. Occasionally things slip through the cracks and I won’t know I’m letting you down.
- You feel safe debating with me. I find ideas improve by being examined from all angles. If it sounds like I’m disagreeing, I’m most likely just playing devil’s advocate. This does rely on us being able to have a safe debate.
What (I Think) I’m Good At
- Giving and Receiving feedback, both positive and negative
- Helping analyze a problem and find solutions
- Bring order and structure to jobs through my analysis and concern for systematic completion and understanding the ‘big picture’
- Strong on identifying the worth of a new project or task
How I prefer to work
Only because I prefer to work this way, it does not mean I can’t do other ways.
- I’m particularly interested in assessing to what extent a new idea can be made to work in practice
- I like jobs that have complexity and the challenge of the unknown about them
- I don’t like leaving things hanging in the air for too long and like to push on to see how they will turn out in practice
- I prefer to work in an orderly and structured way
Tips for better linking
- Be prepared
- Analyze issues fully
- Explore possibilities
- Be factual
- Speak clearly, logically and precisely
- Look for alternatives
- Don’t talk about subjects you know little about
- Don’t give too many opinions
- Don’t waste time
Known Failure Modes
- I can be a little impetuous and impatient and want to push things along at a fast pace
- I can become bored as soon as the project becomes routine or loses its intellectual curiosity
- Some people can quickly find my open-minded way of sharing my attitude to the situation annoying
How can I help you?
- Provide context. Most of my day is spent collecting, filtering and sharing context/information. I’ll try to push information to you as much as I can, but feel free to ask about anything else.
- Provide on outside(ish) perspective. I won’t be a working on your project day to day, but will be close enough to have informed thoughts.
- Cheer. I will celebrate your success. If you’re not a person who self-promotes, please let me do it for you. Tell me when things go well, share the things which make you proud, and I’ll cheer/share appropriately.
- Other. Please let me know how else I can help.
How can you help me?
- Do amazing work. This is the expectation. Let me know if there is something preventing you from accomplishing this.
- Disagree with me. The best solutions come from a healthy level of debate. We need to be able to separate our ideas from our egos. I’ll challenge your ideas with the goal of coming to the best possible solution, I hope you’ll challenge mine.
- Tell me when I screw up. This is very important. I screw up and sometimes don’t notice. I need to know, or I’ll likely do it again.
- Communicate. One of my jobs is to provide context. Are you missing some? Let me know, and I’ll fill you in or go find out.
If I describe my ideal for our team and each person on it, it is that we:
- take control of, and responsibility for, our own destiny
- have each other’s back
- hold each other accountable
- expect excellence in ourselves and each other
- assume positive intent
- always question, always ask “why?”
- constantly learn
- laugh together
“No one hands you personal growth here; but it’s there for the taking. It’s being able to try hard things; that you might not succeed at every time. It’s seeing the practices of the talented people around you; practices that you’re free to steal. Or it’s the advice that others will give to you; advice that you didn’t always ask for but is usually a good idea to take.” - Steven Nobel
- Your career is yours. You know best how you’d like to grow and in what areas. I can provide feedback and an outside perspective.
- I’ll do my best to provide growth and learning opportunities, it’ll be up to you to seize them. Let’s work together on this.
- At the end of the day, it is your career. You set your goals. You set your priorities. Let me know how I can help you achieve them.
Want to Talk? Let’s Talk
- I do a bunch of things here.
- Very few of them are more important than spending time talking with you if you want to talk with me
- Feel entirely free to sent me a slack message to talk or put time on my calendar whenever you want to talk
One to Ones
There’s a lot of variety in frequency, length and format of one on ones with my direct reports. From thirty minutes monthly to a weekly. Private meeting room, head out for a walk, let me know what works best.
Length, frequency, format and content is up to you. We’ll start with 30 minutes weekly and then adjust from there.
The best 1:1s I’ve had have focused beyond the moment: Your career development, team strategy and opportunity, etc. Feel free to come with a topic you’d like to discuss. I’d love it if you spent a few minutes beforehand preparing so that we can get the most of our time.
One to Ones are not for status updates unless you want to update status
What I value
- Critical thinking. Nothing is sacred, and we don’t do anything “because we’ve always done it that way”.
- Self reflection. Self reflection is an important part of growth. You’ll miss opportunities without it.
- Empathy. Having empathy for your co-workers will help us to build strong teams.
- Nothing beats face-to-face communication
- If it feels like we’re having trouble communicating, I will always err on the side of, “let’s hop on a video call and hash this out”
- I try to be as responsive as possible via Slack
- More than one factor, candid and compassionate feedback is central to cohesive a high-functioning team
- Feedback is best received in the context of psychological safety; I want you to know, both intellectually and experiential, that my primary desire is for you to be happy and fulfilled
- Feedback should happen as real-time as possible. I will strive for this
- Feedback is a two-way street: the feedback I get from you is just as valuable as the feedback I give
Feedback is critical to both of our successes. Three dimensions are required for people to continue to give you feedback:
- Safety - Unlikelihood of being punished for giving feedback. Should be high
- Effort - The amount of work in order to give feedback. Should be low
- Benefit - How likely is it that giving you feedback will materially impact your behavior? Should be high
Let me know if I don’t do well on any of the three dimensions.
Thanks for reading the document about me. It will develop over time and I’d love your feedback.
- Did you find the time you spent reading this valuable?
- Was something critical missing?
- Were there information included that you didn’t find useful?
If you see me not living up to anything included, please let me know. It’s possible that I’ve changed my mind. More likely, I’m dropping the ball. Either way, I’d like to know.