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My leadership readme/operating manual

My Leadership Philosophy

I believe in leading by helping others see more clearly what they already know, and finding the solutions and strengths that are already inside people. I love to be surrounded by people who challenge me and I recognize that everyone is my superior at something. I value open, authentic relationships. I promise to be kind, honest and empathetic with others, and hold a safe space for the hard, messy wonderful process of growing and flourishing as a full human being.

My answers to first 1:1 questions

What makes you grumpy?

  • If I feel like I don’t have challenges to work on - when I’m challenged, I’m happy! One other thing is folks doubling down to defend mistakes (all humans make mistakes, we just need to learn from them). Environments where we’re not learning from our mistakes make me grumpy.

How will I know when you’re grumpy?

  • I will probably tell you if something is up!

How can I help you when you’re grumpy?

  • Talking about something interesting (like you!) will usually pull me out of it.

How do you like feedback - slack, email, in person, etc?

  • I see feedback as a gift, and I know from experience it can be the hardest thing to do. I like feedback however it comes, and value being challenged and held accountable so I can learn and grow. I will make mistakes, and when I do, I promise to quickly correct and learn from them, and not double down defending a bad decision.

How do you like feedback - routine like in 1:1s, or as-it-happens?

  • As-it-happens, for sure!

How do you prefer to receive recognition? (public or private)

  • Public 🎉

What makes 1:1s the most valuable for you?

  • When I can get the overview of the wider challenges and objectives, and see that top level view of how my role can help. Also, digging into a juicy challenge, I love that!

What are your goals for this year? And for the next 3 months?

  • In the next 3 months, I want to successfully grow our engineering team in a diverse way. I’m also working on defining what success and career growth means for EMs and evolve our career framework to provide growth opportunities for staff engineers. This year, my goal is to build a strong, inclusive team of engineers and EMs who are flourishing in their roles and delivering a high degree of excellence to our customers and collaboration with our partners in Product and Customer Advocacy.

What do you need from your manager?

  • Autonomy and trust to solve challenges and move the team forward (I’m lucky to get this!)

From your team?

  • My whole role exists in a team context, and I’m just a small part of this wider ecosystem. I’m excited to invest and nurture that ecosystem for the long haul! In terms of what I need, it’s honest feedback and a safe, inclusive work environment for each of us to be trusting and fully engaged.

From your peers? (outside the team)

  • From my own peers leading other areas, I love to learn how I can support their areas and grow from that. Honest feedback and psychological safety are my #1’s there, as well.

What’s your favourite baked good?

C- hewy, soft chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and bran rusks!

My expectations of folks who report to me

Please reach out and tell me if anything, at all, feels off. It’s so much harder to solve problems when we’re guessing what they are. I’ll never consider proactively speaking up about challenges as a sign of complaining. I really value hearing your honest, transparent thoughts about how we can learn and grow together. Bonus points - Thinking about solutions/approaches to the challenges you bring up (I totally understand this isn’t always possible, and sometimes even what the challenge is is unclear).

Please invest in 1:1s - if you’re a manager, please do regular (weekly) 1:1s, and if you’re an engineer, please use the time of the 1:1 as a chance to reflect on your challenges and growth.

Please set healthy goals and boundaries for yourself, and if you’re a manager, model healthy work-life balance to your team.

Please invest in yourself and focus on self-improvement. This looks different for everyone and can be going deeper, going broader, or engaging in feedback to really listen. If you’re a manager, please build a peer network for yourself and keep learning and educating yourself about leadership.

In general, please over-communicate with me. Don’t worry about sending me too many messages or overwhelming me, it’s really valuable, and in our remote context, I’d love to be here for you for what comes up because I can’t see how you’re doing by walking around an office.

What you can expect of me as your manager

A weekly 1:1 (unless you specifically prefer a different cadence) where we’ll work on challenges, goals, and priorities to support you and play to your strengths. As part of this, I’ll do my best to hold a safe space for you and to know you as a person, and connect together as humans to whatever degree feels best for you. I will also share wider context and my own areas of focus or challenge. For managers, you can also expect regular “skip level” 1:1s where I’ll chat with your direct reports.

I’ll transparently share context of my own goals, challenges and priorities - you should never wonder what on earth I do all day! (If you ever do, please nudge me!)

I’ll listen and hear your feedback, because it is the biggest gift you can give me to help me, and Buffer, improve. I know that I will make mistakes, and I'm going to make decisions that are wrong. I promise you that if you come to me and you explain to me why something is wrong, I will listen, and I will fix it.

Clear, gentle, honest communication. I promise not to leave you guessing what I “really” think or expect you to read between the lines of what I’m saying. If it’s not clear, and you have a nagging feeling, let me know so I can fix it! It’s not intentional. I’ll also reply promptly to you, or let you know when you can expect a reply, if you reach out.

Encouraging and modelling a healthy work-life balance and avoiding burnout. I may from time to time ask for help, too! My early warning sign is losing my sense of humour.