Hi, I'm Blake, and I'm a Senior Director of Engineering. You might work with me, or for me, or I might even work for you. We might have just met, or worked together for ages. Whatever the case may be, consider this a convenient guide to me and how I like to manage people and teams.
My goal as a manager is to empower those I work for: the people I manage. I work for you, not the other way around. My job is to provide clarity, context, priority, and feedback. I don't want to be here solely to tell you what to do. I'm here to help enable you to do whatever it is that you do best.
You never know if we're preventing a critical patch from going out, holding up a major product launch, or impacting a demo for a board of directors. We may only work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, but our software works around the clock, around the world, every single day.
Whether it took 5 hours, 5 days, or 5 months, our customers don't care if something doesn't work or doesn't meet their expectations. Everything we ship to customers should be of the highest quality, regardless of the size or effort put into the work behind it.
I have high expectations for you the same way I hope that you have high expectations for me. I'll always strive for open, honest, and timely feedback. I assume everyone's operating with the best intentions.
I operate as transparently as possible. I try my hardest not to overwhelm with minutiae, so if you feel like an important bit of context is missing, just ask! If I can't share something, regardless of what it is, I will always give a clear reason as to why.
1:1s are the most important part of my week and my favorite part of my job. Expect to meet for an hour every other week at an absolute minimum. We might need more time, we'll rarely need less.
1:1s are not status update meetings (unless, of course, that's what you want to talk about). They are a chance for us to talk about everything from your career, the company, our direction, your peers, your performance, whatever. Nothing is off limits, and everything stays between us unless you specifically agree otherwise.
1:1s are also our best chance for you to give your feedback. I'm going to need your help to get better at my job, so I'll always make time for your thoughts on how I can improve.
We'll have an ongoing list of things to discuss at our meeting - typically a shared doc to jot down notes for next time and a running list of notes from past meetings. Feel free to add to this as well but also know that important conversations never need to wait until our next meeting.
Meetings need a clear purpose otherwise they're not meetings but instead just a group of people talking. Sometimes that's okay, but oftentimes we can do better. Have an agenda. Make sure that meetings are driving toward actionable outcomes or takeaways. If a meeting ever feels like it's veering off course, I might speak up to table the conversation for later to get us back on track. I encourage you to do the same.
There are few things more important to me than a healthy life-work balance. I try my hardest to keep regular hours and try to not let life encroach on work or let work encroach on life. I encourage the same for the people I manage.
Sometimes, though, I can be found sitting on my couch at night in front of the TV with a laptop open. If I ping you after hours or on the weekend do not feel compelled to respond until business hours the next workday. More often than not, I've thought of something to ask or discuss and am sharing a note to chat about later. If it's an emergency of any kind, I'll be extremely clear of what the situation is and what's needed.
Above all else, if you need me, reach out to me and I will do my best to get back to you as quickly as possible. If I'm unavailable for an extended period of time, I'll do my best to make sure you know why, for how long, and who you can contact in the meantime.
I love to talk - to you, with you, about work, about everything. I've been known to gab too much, so if I need to move on and get to the point, you won't hurt my feelings saying so.
I assume you know more than me when it comes to technical topics. I do my best to stay on top of things. I'm a front-end engineer by trade and a full-stack engineer by necessity, but I promise you're a better engineer than I am. I'm going to lean on that to everyone's advantage.
I believe in the unstoppable power of shipping small. This is as important for managing as it is development. I like to iterate on feedback in small, achievable increments. If you're surprised during a review, I consider that a complete and utter failure on my part.
I'll give you as much detail as I think you need. If you need more, ask for it. If I can't give it immediately, I'll make finding it my top priority.
Trust is everything. I hope you trust me to do my best to provide you with the right information and guidance, at the right time, and in the right amount to do your job. I'm trusting you to do your best to execute our shared vision and to speak up early and loudly when that ability might be impacted.