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Manager README

Hey! If you're reading this, it's probably because we're about to start working together. Almost everyone can empathise with anxiety about having a new manager – the purpose of this living document is to help offset that by setting some expectations about what we should expect of each other.

This is intended to be a clear, understandable guide to working with me. It's not exhaustive, and should only take five minutes to read. If you want me to clarify anything written here, or add additional detail, I commit to doing so both verbally and in this document.

How we'll work together

It's going to take a little time for us to get to know and trust each other, and that's okay.

When we meet for the first time, I'll ask you how you like to give and receive feedback. Candid feedback is at the core of a positive, healthy relationship – but delivering it can often be the most difficult part. We'll talk about yours and my preferred ways to do this.

My job here is to attract and retain the most talented, empathetic people to our company, and to help you do a great job by setting and communicating context about our work. I'm not here to tell you what to do, or how to do your job. If you ever feel like that's not the case, let me know, and we'll fix it together.

I apply an emphasis on a healthy work-life balance to myself and our team. I work remotely, from home, between the hours of 09:00 and 18:00 UTC. Sometimes I'll start earlier, or stay later, but you can rely on responsiveness from me during these hours. I will not contact you outside your core working hours if there's not an emergency, but if I slip up, you have my permission to ignore me.

What you can expect from me

Reflecting on the traits of managers I've worked with in the past, the ones that have been the most enjoyable share a common attribute: predictability. I promise, as much as humanly possible, to be predictable to you. This is particularly important when giving and receiving feedback, and should help you feel safer at work.

I promise to understand and be empathetic to the values of our team. If you've gone through the exercise of determining and documenting your values, fantastic! If not, I will help guide us through this valuable process, and discover what's important to us all.

I practice servant leadership. This is an in-vogue principle, but it's an ancient philosophy. Everything I do should be to empower you to enjoy your work and do the best job you can. I will not tell you how to do your job, because you're the expert and you were hired for a reason. I will, however, do my best to give you the context necessary to do a good job.

We'll have a thirty minute one-to-one discussion every week, on a predictable schedule. You'll own the agenda, but I will bring my own topics when there's a theme I want to introduce. These won't be status updates, but a medium for us to continue to develop our relationship, coach each other through situations, and discuss your professional development. I will not wait for our one-on-ones to deliver feedback, and neither should you. Never feel as though you're distracting me by contacting me asynchronously or asking for more face-to-face time: my responsibilities are first and foremost to you.

I will help you to identity the areas of your professional makeup that need growth, and help guide you towards the next stage of your career. It could be that you have a good idea of what that looks like to you now, and I will help keep you unblocked in getting there. If not, we'll work together to figure out which path you want to tread next.

I will not scrutinise your inputs if you are productive and positive. If this is not the case, I will never default to assuming negative intent. You can depend on a constructive narrative to help resolve the underlying issues that are holding you or the team back.

I will always be honest with you. It is not in my nature or my philosophy to mislead you or obstruct context. You can ask me anything, and I will either answer truthfully or tell you why I can't answer.

What I expect of you

First and foremost, I expect that as a human being, you will be tolerant of your colleagues and anyone we communicate with on the job. That's inclusive of the tolerance we should expect from everyone (racial, religious, cultural, sexual orientation, gender identification), and also of technical preferences. I expect that you will not demean or belittle your colleagues for their approach to problem solving or their background.

I want you to be candid with me, and with your colleagues. We'll work together to figure out how best to deliver and receive feedback, but I want you to do the same exercise with the other people on our team. I will often practice situation-behaviour-impact, and may suggest its application when we talk about interpersonal concerns.

If there's something happening in your personal or work life that you're concerned may impact your ability to do a good job, then I ask that you raise that with me as soon as you feel comfortable. I can help support you better the earlier I have that context available, and I commit to support and help you throughout our relationship, not just in these times.

I encourage you to always assume positive intent with your colleagues and me. It's very easy to jump to conclusions with the imperfect context we often have. If I, or one of your colleagues, does or says something that appears to be harmful or counter to the values of our team, I ask that you reserve immediate judgement, and ask either myself or your colleague for clarification.