Steve Sitton

Just another blog…

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Our days are busy, filled with meetings, status updates, future planning, risk assessing, decision making and the rest! The people in our teams are busy too! Above all we’re human, we have lives that impact our mood and outlook. To the point, we have bad days which means we can act in undesirable ways sometimes, but that doesn’t always mean there is a lack of respect. Sometimes a manager needs to let it go!

A few examples where people behave unexpectedly could be:

  • Snapping a response back to a question
  • Turn up late for a meeting without saying anything
  • Raising a voice at you or someone in the team
  • Someone storms out of a team meeting or 1:1

No question, some actions can be disrespectful but there are different ways to deal with them. The relationship you have with the person is important as you draw from that experience. As… Continue reading

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Some blogs I recommend reading this month…

7 Traits That Make a Great Software Developer
There are many “great developer trait” lists and I don’t think there is anything new here. I’ve included the link because it’s important for leaders to guide and coach each developer that directly reports to you on these traits. You may see some as more important than others but it’s about the needs of each person and working together on improvements.

Don’t Hire Remote Workers Who Can’t Nail These 6 Interview Questions
Recruitment is one of the most important jobs for a leader and the teams so I like finding new interview questions that can help understand candidates better. I would say that most of these questions are not only for remote workers.

How we make decisions at Coinbase
Good post on making decisions that I’m sure many can draw from. Having the right number… Continue reading

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Some blogs I recommend reading this month…

The Two Traits of the Best Problem-Solving Teams
Having teams that are cognitively diverse that also have psychological safety are probably on most leaders’ wish list. It is the leaders and their behaviour that are key to this.

Talk: Building Great Engineer Cultures from 0 to Scale
Fast-paced from Marty Weiner with lots of content. Whether you’re scaling your teams or not there are good takeaways for any leader. I like the active listening technique he references and especially the “Communicate the “why”” so that others don’t need to assume my motivations.

Blind Spots That Plague Even The Best Leaders
We are all human and therefore none of us are immune to mistakes. This is a good post about managing 5 visionary weaknesses. I believe leaders need to show good self-awareness over their blind spots and to listen and learn from others to… Continue reading

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Some blogs I recommend reading this month…

How to Rands
Setting expectations for those you work with is important, Rands lays out his very clearly. Many ideas can be taken into our work environments to improve interactions with our teams.

A Wake-Up Call For Tech Managers
https://hackernoon.com/a-wake-up-call-for-tech-managers-d0415775efd0
“Create an environment where your programmers can fully contribute, or else the best ones will leave.” I do find it difficult to understand managers who wouldn’t want to get the best out of engineers. This cannot be done without involving and listening to them. Good advice to change things: Be humble; Listen more, tell less; Ask more often than tell.

The most surprising principle of good leadership? Don’t be busy.
Not being busy is a challenge but I believe it’s more about the signals you send your teams than the actual work you have to do. Visually showing that everything is under… Continue reading

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I’ve been a manager for a number of years now but still enjoy getting my hands dirty in the code. There’s a buzz I get from understanding a problem and delivering a solution! Full-time coding is difficult to let go of for many engineers moving into management, the challenges moves into finding the right balance. Staying close to the code is important but there has to be a different mindset, especially for the sake of the team!

There’s a simple rule I follow – don’t take on feature stories. Feature stories are a business priority so the risk is too big if I cannot give them my full attention because of other commitments. These stories must stay with engineers, but managers can still remain close to the code with code reviews, refactoring, bug investigation, etc.

Work on tech stories

Non-blocking tech stories are a lower priority than feature stories, usually,… Continue reading

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Some blogs I recommend reading this month…

The 3 Types of C Players and What to Do About Them
This blog gives good options on a difficult problem- C Players. Having C players on the team always poses a dilemma, as each player and situation is different there is no silver bullet. Something does need to be done it’s a matter of what. As the blog describes, the C players motivation is an important aspect, but it’s the effect they are having on the rest of the team that decides the outcome.

The 5 ways to improve your self-awareness as a leader
“The most overlooked element of a successful leader is self-awareness.” I cannot agree more, as I have also blogged about. This post covers good reasons why self-awareness is crucial for leadership and ways to improve your own. For me, honesty and humility go a long way in helping… Continue reading

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One-to-ones should be seen as a special time, it’s usually the only time set aside for you and a member of the team to talk…about anything! Unfortunately, it seems most time in one-on-ones is used up with status reports that a manager should know anyway. Set a target to learn something new from each of your one-on-one conversations.

Fill in the gaps

A manager cannot be in every conversation or meeting. One-on-ones are an opportunity to ask questions to fill in any gaps from missed meetings/discussions.

  • How did the meeting go? (give specific details in the question)
  • What was the outcome?
  • Is there anything I need to know?

You learn a lot about the person in the way they describe events. Was the context set? Can you understand the main topics from them? Were the outcomes described clearly? Did you notice any bias? These conversations let you fill in the… Continue reading

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