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The Manager's Guide – #61
Weekly Summary Edition
That email pops up, and you sigh: It’s performance review season again. Now, on top of everything, you now have to write reviews for everyone, trying to cram months of work, ups, and downs into a couple of paragraphs. Follow these 6 invaluable tips and techniques to make your life easier and your performance discussions 10x better.
🚫 Avoid using the “sh*t sandwich” approach for feedback, as it can confuse, come across as insincere, and create anxiety. Honest and direct communication is key.
🧩 Consider using frameworks like the (SKS) Start-Stop-Continue framework or the SBI Method (Situation-Behavior-Impact) for providing feedback during performance reviews.
🤔 Ask clarifying questions to avoid defensiveness when receiving feedback and offer next steps to promote a dialogue rather than one-way communication.
✋ Seek permission before giving feedback to respect the other person's consent and create a more receptive environment.
🌟 Don't neglect spending time with high performers during performance reviews; they have untapped potential that can benefit the team and the organization.
🗣️ Performance reviews should focus on real talk, understanding, and growth, and clear communication, respect, and trust-building are essential in the feedback process.
The art of taking your first steps off the “conventional” career path.
🧗♀️ Conventional success is often equated with climbing the career ladder, which emphasizes constant achievement and status.
🤔 Many professionals eventually find the traditional career path unfulfilling, leading them to consider alternative routes.
🛤 Venturing off the conventional path can be daunting, akin to leaving a clear trail for an uncertain journey.
🎨 People in tech often dream of completely different careers, such as creating art, opening small businesses, or living off the land.
🔍 To forge your own path, it's crucial to understand your personal values, which might differ significantly from those celebrated by traditional career trajectories.
🌟 Being clear on your values helps resist the urge to compare your journey with others', especially in tech where stories of monumental success are common.
⚖ It's important to consider how you want work to fit into your life, acknowledging that its role may vary depending on your life stage.
😌 There's no need to feel guilty if you want or need things from your life that your work can't provide.
💡 Keep an eye out for jobs, arrangements, or stories that spark your interest; these can guide your exploration of new career possibilities.
🚀 The career ladder is a structure for companies to organize large-scale workforces but doesn't have to dictate your individual journey.
🤨 Expect skepticism from others when you deviate from the traditional path, but remember that their doubts are more about their own fears than your choices.
📝 Reflect on key questions about your values, priorities, the role of work in your life, and what success truly means to you.
💌 Engage with communities and individuals who can provide support and understanding as you navigate your unique path.
📊 Stay informed and connected within your field, even as you explore unconventional career trajectories.
🧑💼 Managers feel neglected in the hybrid work environment, facing personal struggles despite seeing their teams perform well.
🌍 The research involved over 3,000 global office workers, exploring their experiences and preferences in the hybrid workplace.
👍 50% of managers noticed a positive impact on team performance and agility due to hybrid work, but 15% saw a negative impact.
🤝 75% find it harder to form strong connections with their teams, and 71% feel they can't provide enough emotional or professional support.
😞 One in five managers experienced feelings of loneliness, and 30% felt pressure to prove their worth remotely.
📈 Managers explicitly express a need for more support in various areas, including connecting with teams (39%) and stakeholders (30%), and managing feedback (36%).
🧠 Investing in human skills like empathy, resilience, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking is crucial for managers in hybrid work settings.
🤲 Developing self-awareness, understanding of others, and team dynamics can be achieved through models like Insights Discovery, based on Jungian psychology.
🛡️ Fostering psychological safety within teams is essential, encouraging openness, reliability, and authenticity for healthier group dynamics.
🫂 Implementing an Emotional Support Plan is necessary, as 73% of managers prefer hybrid working for their future careers, indicating a need for a shift in how they are supported.
🔄 Companies should recalibrate their approaches to meet the emotional and professional needs of managers, with initiatives like 'meeting-free Fridays' for self-reflection and development.
🗣️ Encouraging managers to be authentic and voice their thoughts can enhance team performance and interpersonal relationships.
A compelling story, a superpower (or two), some luck – and betting on yourself – can help take you where you want to go.
📘 Manage your career as you would a product, focusing on long-term growth instead of short-term gains.
➕ Make each career transition add value and contribute meaningfully to your overall career story.
🤝 Building a strong professional network is as crucial as your skills and knowledge.
🦸♂️ Identify your strengths early on and nurture them into superpowers for maximum career impact.
🎲 Embrace the role of luck and being in the right place at the right time in your career journey.
🧭 Always bet on yourself, advocating for your interests and career path proactively.
🚀 Avoid hyper-focusing on promotions; instead, concentrate on skill and character development.
🗣 Obtain and utilize high-quality feedback for continuous personal and professional growth.
🤗 Develop soft skills like empathy and self-awareness, which are invaluable for leadership.
👥 Seek mentors who can provide guidance, support, and objective advice throughout your career.
🌟 Focus on developing and harnessing your superpowers while being mindful of their “shadows.”
🔄 Be open to starting over in new roles or careers, viewing each phase as a learning opportunity.
🧭 Understanding that your career is separate from any single company can lead to long-term investment in personal growth and resilience against daily ups and downs.
💌 The article emphasizes the importance of viewing your career as the most critical product you manage, indicating a need for careful, strategic decisions and planning.
💬 Community feedback highlights the challenges of applying product management strategies to careers, given the impossibility of A/B testing real-life decisions and the risks involved.
🚀 Commenters value shared experiences and insights, seeking more detailed stories on how the discussed career rules have manifested in real-life scenarios, indicating the importance of practical examples.
🎯 The focus on intentional decision-making over traditional markers of success like promotions highlights a shift in career development thinking, advocating for purpose-driven choices.
🏢 DoorDash attributes its success to strong engineering management and emphasizes the importance of clearly defining what great management looks like.
🚀 The company values agility, action, and continuous reflection to ensure ongoing success and improvement, especially as they scale.
🔄 In Q2 2023, DoorDash reassessed performance expectations for engineers and managers, aligning them with the company's evolving needs and culture.
📈 They focus on three management pillars: Business Outcome, Team, and Engineering Excellence, each critical to the company's strategic goals and culture.
🌐 DoorDash decided to share their management principles externally for transparency and to assist other organizations in shaping their own practices.
🎯 Managers are expected to drive business impact, provide clear direction, and enable effective project execution.
🧑🤝🧑 Team metrics include building effective teams, fostering career growth, and ensuring collaboration and alignment within and across teams.
💻 Engineering Excellence involves delivering high-quality, efficient software quickly, and instilling a culture that prioritizes these aspects.
📊 Managers at different levels (M1, M2, D1) have specific responsibilities and expectations aligned with their position in the organizational hierarchy.
🌟 The company stresses continuous improvement, team autonomy, quality, and efficiency across all levels of engineering management.
🌱 Career Growth & Coaching: Managers proactively enhance their effectiveness, advocate for internal growth, mentor others, and drive performance standards.
🤝 Collaboration & Alignment: They ensure cross-functional unity on business strategies and establish processes for systematic decision-making and dependency management.
🏆 Engineering Excellence: Managers are responsible for setting quality standards, accelerating team velocity, and improving efficiency while considering cutting-edge technologies and strategic investments.
🚀 Senior Director (D2) Role: This role supports multiple vital company segments, focusing on delivering clear business outcomes, defining long-term visions, and contributing to company strategies.
🎯 Business Outcome: Senior Directors ensure delivery against key business strategies, maintain execution awareness, and reallocate resources for maximum impact.
🧭 Direction: They define a cohesive, long-term vision for business success and drive investment decisions based on various factors like market dynamics.
👥 Team Building: Accountable for team health, structure, hiring senior roles, and ensuring a mix of skills and diversity, while also identifying and addressing systemic issues.
🔄 Career Growth & Coaching at Senior Levels: Involves creating systematic programs for manager effectiveness and talent growth, and driving performance calibration processes.
💡 Engineering Excellence at Higher Levels: They maintain quality and velocity standards across organizations and drive efficiency goals, adopting bold strategies for long-term improvements.
🤝 The importance of humility and openness in admitting a lack of knowledge, fostering a collaborative work environment.
🎨 No one-size-fits-all approach; adaptability and understanding individual team dynamics are key.
🏗️ Filling gaps responsibly, even beyond individual scope, while ensuring sustainability and team alignment.
🏔️ Avoiding unwavering stances on minor issues; flexibility often leads to greater overall success.
🎯 Clear, shared goals and active stakeholder participation drive project success.
🔄 Importance of alignment within teams, achieved through effective communication strategies.
📈 Trust built through transparent communication leads to better collaboration and more successful outcomes.
🔥 Passion and a sense of purpose within the team can lead to exceptional performance and results.
🎯 Clear definition of project goals and end states is essential for aligning stakeholders and ensuring successful delivery.
🕰️ Setting internal and external deadlines to manage dependencies and expectations efficiently.
🚩 Encouraging team members to escalate issues early for timely resolution.
💡 Flexibility in team processes, with an openness to change and adaptation for increased productivity and happiness.
📊 Successful projects start with small, achievable goals and evolve based on feedback and data, emphasizing a journey over a rushed launch.
🤹♀️ Teams that excel combine a focus on technical skills with a strong emphasis on interpersonal skills and quality interactions.
🧑🤝🧑 Focus on interpersonal soft skills is as crucial as technical aptitude in high-level development teams.
🔄 Flexibility and adaptability in processes significantly impact project outcomes.
🎯 Clear expectations and understanding of the big picture are essential for project success.
🌊 Low-friction processes help team members reach a flow state, enhancing productivity and creativity.
🌟 Beyond technical skills, effective engineering leaders foster soft skills, benefiting teams, projects, stakeholders, and customers.