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When I first started managing, I had no idea what meetings I was supposed to conduct with my staff to help them grow. In part because I was at a smaller organization and we were inventing processes on the fly and also because I did not have a manager who conducted or introduced me to these meetings. I learned about these meetings through years of experience, peers in other organizations, networking, mentors, and reading. A lot of reading!
Effective managers trust their teams, delegating as many decisions as possible to the people closest to the work. This frees us up to spend our energy on shaping the team and addressing critical business challenges. But it isn’t particularly clear how to do this well.
There’s a usual hesitation to correct the words people use, particularly when there doesn’t seem to be a big difference from what we prefer. We don’t want to sound superficial nor pedantic so we choose to just let it go. I’ve personally had these moments when I hold myself back from correcting terminology. It is just semantics after all, right?
I had my fair share in designing and building large systems. I've taken part in rewriting Uber's distributed payment systems, designing and shipping Skype on Xbox One and open-sourcing RIBs, Uber's mobile architecture framework. All of these systems had thorough designs, going through multiple iterations and had lots of whiteboarding and discussion. The designs then boiled down to a design document that was circulated for more feedback before we started building.
In growing our Netflix Compute Platform team, I interview management candidates with a focus on understanding how they will likely manage the team. In looking for such a candidate, it is important that they can manage our experienced and senior team of engineers and work well within our Netflix culture. One part of our culture that is important to each of these aspects is “context not control” leadership.
Certain behaviour patterns involve certain body postures and often require another animal to do something. Postures signalling mood or intention to the partner are sometimes even used for communication over greater distances; this is particularly true for display behaviour. — berggorilla
As I was progressing in my career, from being a beginner in web development to leadership positions in a global company, it was always hard to understand what kind of skills I needed to develop in order to move forward.
A while ago I was telling a friend how I was frustrated at work. I had been adding support for a really important product feature, and our platform teams were making it impossibly difficult. It felt like every line of code required a month of negotiations to get approved. Let’s be honest here — I wasn’t telling, I was complaining. “Do they think we’re idiots?!”, I asked.
Sometimes I am startled to realize, in the middle of a discussion, that I have offended or hurt some of the people I’m talking with.
First, know and accept this: I have a friend who is a wizard. He is an ancient and wise wizard, and we have tea together. One teatime, I mentioned my talking troubles to my friend, and he said this;
I am a long-standing believer in the principles of Agile development. I have been working this way for several decades, before it was referred to as “Agile”. I am friends with several signatories to the original “Agile Manifesto” and with them I share a degree of disappointment about how those important ideas are often misinterpreted and ignored.
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About the author:
Gabor Zold is a content marketer and tech writer, focusing on software development technologies and engineering management. He has extensive knowledge about engineering management-related topics and has been doing interviews with accomplished tech leaders for years. He is the audio wizard of the Level-up Engineering podcast.