Motivation for this document
This is my Manager README, a document that helps introduce you to my management style, philosophy, and expectations. The intended audience is primarily anyone who reports in to me, though anyone is free to read it - or even provide feedback on it! Please treat it as a reference and promise on how I will conduct myself as a manager, and what I expect from you.
I urge you to hold me accountable to my promises, and to call out anything that might be missing from this document. Without your guidance, I will not be able to improve as a manager.
I am here to make sure you are both successful and happy: I want you to improve your technical skills, grow your career, enjoy your work, and believe in both our company’s and our team’s mission.
- My role is to make sure our team is successful and pointed in the right direction, both individually and generally. Part of this requires our team to be aligned and pushing in the same direction.
- I am here to make sure our team is getting what we need from other teams, and that other teams are getting what they need from us.
- I will be reviewing code, pushing best practices, and helping you evolve as an SRE. Sometimes I’ll jump in and write a little code as well.
I expect you to operate as a Directly Responsible Individual. We hired you because of your experience and skills, and I am not here to tell you how to do your job. I believe you are able to operate as a professional adult, and make smart decisions. This does not mean that I expect you to do everything on your own - I am here to provide you guidance and mentorship (either through me, or by finding the people you should be getting it from). When you need help, I expect you to not hesitate and ask for it. If you feel you made a mistake, own up to it.
I believe very strongly in teamwork and collaboration. We spend almost as much time with each other as we do our family and friends. As a team, we should always have each others backs and help each other out as much as possible.
When I ask for you to do something that feels poorly defined you should ask me for both clarification and a call on importance.
Tell me about your personal space boundaries. I will respect them.
Our Average Week
We will have a 1:1 weekly for 30 minutes no matter what. This meeting is not for status updates but is mostly your time and your agenda. I like to use this time to check in on how you are doing, what you need from me, personnel issues and professional development. I will create a private Hipchat channel for the two us of to capture future topics for our 1:1s as well as to provide a handy historic record of what we’ve discussed. We will have a staff meeting with your peers for 60 minutes weekly no matter what as well. This meeting is for us to discuss issues of substance that affect the whole team. This could include strategy, tooling, and issues that impact the whole team. Agenda topics are tracked on a shared Confluence page. You can message me 24 hours a day on Hipchat and I will respond as quickly as I can. If it is urgent, call or text. I work a bit after normal hours and on weekends. This is my choice, and I do not expect you to be available after hours or weekends (unless you are on-call). If I Hipchat or email you something outside of normal hours I do not expect you to respond until the next business day. If it is urgent I will call or text you.
People First. As a leader in the military, we were trained that we had two jobs. Take care of the troops and take care of the mission. I firmly believe that if you take care the troops, they will take care of the mission. My primary purpose as a manager is to help grow and develop the people around me and to prepare them for the next level. This is my first and number one priority.
Leadership does not require a title. Leadership is a function of who you are, not the title that you hold. I continually look for ways for non-managers to be able to learn and grow their leadership skills and encourage people to take ownership of the things that they do.
Bias towards action. Long meetings and endless debates can have value, but I believe that starting is the best way to begin learning and making progress.
Team triumphs talent. No matter how good an individual is, they will never be able to optimize the way that the entire team can. I believe that the best individual ideas can always be made better with input from the team.
I firmly believe that feedback is at the core of building trust and respect in a team. I commit to providing direct feedback to you. I prefer to do it as soon as possible rather than waiting for formal reviews. If you are finding out about things for the first time in your Talent Assessment, I have failed you. Commit to providing me direct feedback when I’m blocking your or the company’s success. I respond well to feedback. I don’t like yes-men/women and after we establish a healthy trusting relationship, you will be rewarded if you give me feedback on how I can better support you and the company. Our relationship will get better if you do this well. Disagreement is feedback and the sooner we learn how to efficiently disagree with each other, the sooner we’ll trust and respect each other more. Ideas don’t get better with agreement.
My definition of a meeting includes an agenda and/or intended purpose, the appropriate amount of productive attendees, and a responsible party running the meeting to a schedule, and a summary email of what was discussed and next steps. If I am attending a meeting, I’d prefer starting on time. If I am running a meeting, I will start that meeting on time. If it’s not clear to me why I am in a meeting, I will ask for clarification on my attendance. I do not like laptops or phones in meetings unless they are required to run the meeting (i.e. displaying screen/presentation). If you feel that you need to bring a laptop to a meeting you should question whether you belong in that meeting. I believe that people should be empowered to leave meetings where they do not add value. As much as possible, I like meetings to end 5-10 minutes early. This allows for people to have a short break between meetings and allows the next one to start on time.
More About Me
I bias toward transparency and candor. You can ask anything. Most of the time, I’ll answer. Rarely, I won’t. I’m committed to never lying to you. I believe that you praise in public and criticize in private. I am available anytime (24×7) if something is urgent. If you are sick, work from home. It doesn’t matter if you put in a Herculean effort if you get everyone else sick too. I believe that information wants to be free. As much as possible our data (metrics/monitoring/communications/etc) should be available for anyone to see. I have strong opinions, weakly held. I love to debate, understand and see an issue from all sides. Sometimes I may come off as argumentative, but really I’m just hyper-focused on finding the best solution or trying to understand your perspective. Question everything, we’ll all be better for it. This document is a living breathing thing and likely incomplete. I will update it frequently and would appreciate your feedback.