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The Manager's Guide – #59
Weekly Summary Edition
🧐 Transitioning from a contributor to a manager is an immense challenge, akin to taking the controls of a passenger jet with no prior experience.
🤝 To assist new(er) managers in their journey to success, here are five key strategies:
👀 Consistently observe and coach them, providing guidance and constructive feedback.
💬 Encourage them to proactively engage with their teams, asking what support and resources they require.
🗣️ Teach them a structured approach to delivering feedback, emphasizing behavior, impact, timing, and open-ended questions.
🎯 Establish a strong connection between their team's work and the organization's broader goals, fostering a sense of purpose.
🤝 Facilitate the creation of a robust peer network, enabling them to seek advice, share experiences, and learn from others.
✈️ The commitment of promoting managers plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of new(er) managers as they navigate the challenges of their roles.
“After years of speaking to thousands of CTOs, VPs of engineering, and executives who lead large teams of developers, I’ve learned that the most stressful thing in their lives isn’t a bug or a system crash.
What makes these leaders sweat, stress, and lose sleep at night is having to talk about their org to their non-engineering boss: the CEO.”
- Yishai Beeri, CTO @ LinearB.
💡 CEOs are often stressed about communicating engineering progress to non-technical executives.
💼 Effective communication with the CEO can position the engineering organization as a value-add rather than a cost center.
📈 Critical engineering metrics for CEOs include Cycle Time, Lead Time, Merge Frequency, Business Impact, FTE, and Estimated Cost.
📊 Four key slides that CEOs love for engineering updates:
Slide 1: Overall Health Update, showcasing production pipeline, efficiency, execution, and developer experience.
Slide 2: Engineering Investment Strategy, evaluating project impact and execution health.
Slide 3: Engineering Investment Updates, highlighting key investments, business impact, and execution scores.
Slide 4: Engineering Health Update, providing a review of engineering metrics related to operations and bug tracking.
📊 Additional slides can include data and trend analysis on investment breakdown, lead time changes, production bug tracking, and developer experience trends.
📥 The presentation deck with these slides is available for free download.
Have you noticed that through the years, the focus of the conversation has moved almost entirely from employee motivation to employee engagement? On the one hand, the reason could be that engagement has a broader impact and also affects motivation. But on the other, maybe we just finally figured out how hard it is to affect motivation directly.
💡 Motivation is a personal and internal drive that comes from within an individual.
💬 Managers cannot directly manufacture or control employee motivation; they can only contribute to it.
🤝 Effective communication and building trust with employees are essential for understanding what motivates them.
🌟 Employee motivation varies from person to person, and it's crucial to recognize and respect these differences.
🧐 Managers can help employees discover what motivates them, especially when employees are unsure or their motivations change.
🙅♂️ Some factors influencing motivation, such as budgets, project delays, and organizational priorities, may be beyond a manager's control.
🎯 Managers can still influence motivation by setting meaningful goals, redesigning work processes, providing recognition, and removing obstacles.
🚀 Ultimately, employee motivation is an internal drive that employees must find and pursue themselves. Managers can support, but not fully control it.
🗣 Skilled communicators excel in both speaking and listening, convey complex ideas clearly, and adapt their communication to their audience.
🔄 Communication is a virtuous cycle that fuels itself among skilled communicators, leading to increased trust, more touchpoints, and insider knowledge.
🤝 Building trust through open dialogue and consistency is crucial for effective communication.
💬 Skilled communicators create more touchpoints and make people feel heard, leading to valuable collaboration.
🧐 They have an ear to the ground and are often the first to hear about organizational changes or opportunities.
🚀 Effective communication is a multiplier for career and organizational success, leading to better decision-making, leadership advantages, and professional growth.
🌐 It expands your network, enhances team cohesion, contributes to organizational culture, and is critical in crisis management.
How do we know what’s going on when we’re working in remote or hybrid organisations? How do we get the right information to the right people, find what we need and bump into ideas that can lead to something else? Distributed workplaces make it hard, but not impossible. This post explores some of the ways that can enable sharing that helps teams remember, and people bump into information.
🏢 In distributed workplaces, it's challenging to maintain team memory, organizational sharing, and serendipity.
🧠 In physical offices, overheard conversations, corridor chats, and visual displays on walls supported sharing and awareness.
🚀 Distributed teams need to be intentional about creating new habits to replicate these effects.
🌐 Tools like Miro and Mural can create online whiteboards, but they don't replicate the discoverability of physical walls.
📝 Three key themes for sharing in distributed teams: maintaining team memory, reaching outside team boundaries, and creating serendipitous moments.
🔑 Fundamental principles for information sharing: go where people are, share information little and often, and repeat messages.
💡 Tips for maintaining and reinforcing team memory: use online workflow boards, team chat channels, team blogs, and meeting habits.
📚 Tips for reaching outside team boundaries: hold show and tells, publish short videos, write weeknotes, and curate visible walls.
🌟 Tips for creating serendipitous moments: set up random coffees, make show and tells open to all, and allow communications from everywhere.
💬 Providing constructive feedback is crucial for effective leadership and team development.
🤔 Managers and leaders often make mistakes in giving feedback that can undermine its purpose.
📱 Giving feedback over Slack or quick messages can lead to misunderstandings and negative responses.
🗣️ Schedule face-to-face conversations for more effective feedback communication.
🙅♂️ Avoid giving feedback that someone is not ready to hear to prevent defensiveness and upset.
🤝 Ask for permission before giving critical feedback to gauge readiness.
🚫 Giving constructive feedback in public, such as during meetings, can lead to embarrassment and resentment among team members.
🤐 Prioritize private discussions for constructive feedback to maintain confidentiality and respect.
👏 Praise publicly and criticize privately to create a positive feedback environment.
🌟 Balance feedback by acknowledging and appreciating team members' strengths and achievements.
❌ Avoid using the word “but” when giving praise and positive feedback.
📈 Cultivate a culture of open communication, trust, and collaboration through effective feedback.
🛤️ Continuous improvement in feedback is essential for managers to drive individual and team success.