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How I like to work and operate on teams
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My Leadership/Operating Manual

This README came out of Lara Hogan's brilliant post on Questions for our first 1:1 and Katie Womersley's excellent idea to turn it into a written document. This document explains how I like to work with my manager, with teams, and my peers.

My Leadership Philosophy

I believe that we are more effective as a team than I am alone and I will do my best to empower others. I believe that in order to expect behavior from others, I must lead by example. I know there are times when I will be wrong and appreciate others challenging me and letting me know how I can be better. I promise to be empathetic, understanding, and to help create a safe environment so that we can all learn and grow.

My Operating Philosophy

I try to spend my energy working where I can to make the most impact for the business and team. I take into account the organization, operational capabilities, and production timelines when making a decision of what to work on be it code, documentation, or helping people come together to solve a problem.

I recognize that I operate on many axes of privilege and try to use those privileges to help people in marginalized groups.

I often wear headphones when working because I am distracted by ambient noise, so please don't take that as a sign that I don't want to talk. If I have to focus on something, I will let you know and give you a time that I can talk later. I believe the needs of the team are more important than my personal work so am more than happy to help out.

I appreciate being given an agenda and as much accompanying information as possible before meetings so I can have time to process it on my own and prepare to talk about it. If the meeting is about a particularly sensitive topic or change, it may take me up to a day to process and really figure out my feelings. If you ask me a question and I don't know the answer because I'm still processing the information, I'll let you that's happening and when I'll be able to get back to you.

My answers to first 1:1 questions

What pronouns do you use?

What makes you grumpy?

  • There are a couple of things that can make me grumpy:
    • Unclear priorities (not knowing what to work on)
    • Not having autonomy to make decisions within the scope of my responsibilities
    • When people don't learn from their mistakes or double down on their mistakes (it's ok to make mistakes, we just need to learn and grow)
    • Feeling like I'm not learning or growing

How will I know when you’re grumpy?

  • I'll likely tell you if something is bothering me, but if it's especially bad I'll probably get very quiet and try to be alone.

How can I help you when you’re grumpy?

  • Offer to give me a hug or talk to me about what's going on.

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

  • Any of those work for me, so whatever is easiest for you to feel comfortable giving me feedback. Sometimes feedback is difficult to convey over email or slack, so I may ask to talk in person, but that's not required.

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

  • I prefer as it happens, but if you don't feel comfortable in doing so, then the first available moment to take me aside would be good as well. I would like to avoid feedback that comes weeks (or months) after it happens as it means I may have repeated mistakes in the interem and I'd prefer not to do that.

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

  • Public

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

  • I really value having someone with a different perspective to talk through issues with and I also appreciate getting feedback on a regular basis.

What do you need from your manager?

  • An advocate for me who will make me feel safe so that I can bring up problems I may have. Someone who can admit their mistakes and learn and grow along side me. Autonomy to make decisions that they themselves may not choose, but also helpful nudging toward the correct path when I may have strayed too far. I will make mistakes, so please give me feedback when warranted but also praise when earned. Please let me know how I can help you in any way I can as our relationship should not be a one way street.

From your team?

  • A safe, inclusive place to learn and make mistakes so that we can grow and make awesome things because teams work best when they feel safe. Trust that I will always try to do the best I can for the team, but letting me know when I fall short of that goal so that I can rectify it. Letting me know how I can best support them because we are in this together and I care about them.

From your peers? (outside the team)

  • Letting me know how I can help them or giving me feedback in a safe environment (there's a theme here). Teaching me new ways to improve or about areas I've never worked in before.

What’s your favourite baked good?

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