Steve Sitton

Just another blog…

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Some blogs I enjoyed reading this month…

The 8 Must-Have Non-Technical Skills in Software Development
Non-technical skills, or soft skills, are essential to be successful. Even more basic though, is team fit for which these skills are a must. This blog covers 8 of these. One-on-ones are a good time to encourage these in people so they see the value in practising them at a team level.

Differences Between a Manager and a Leader
I’ve covered this topic before but I like this post. It’s quite a long read with many good points contrasting management and leadership. I like this “Leading by example is most easily completed when the leader is willing to perform the same tasks that they expect of others.”

Want to improve your management style? Screw the Golden Rule
This is a good reminder, for me a least! “You shouldn’t treat other people the way you want… Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Year-end reviews think back on the year, while this is important it’s also a good opportunity to be forward thinking for next year. Whether it’s for us or others, preparing for next year while reflecting on this one can prove valuable. The goal-setting period usually creeps up on us and, before we know it, we’re throwing in goals without much thought to finally prevent the annoying reminders appearing!

Jotting down a few thoughts now should be a quick exercise. While the year-end discussions are fresh in your mind, note down anything that could help for the future. Ask questions about yourself and your team to help stimulate this time…

  • For each person in the team, what’s top of the list for their growth? Is it an improvement or a new skill?
  • What will your job look like in 1 year? What do you need to plan for? Same for your… Continue reading
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Mentoring can be wide-ranging from offering guidance to advice and support. Approaches can vary, from the very informal to a fully documented structured program. Different approaches have their merits, the correct one will depend on the goal of the mentorship and the people involved. It could be said that any approach is better than none, but that’s not true if a particular style of mentorship harms the mentor-mentee relationship.

Before starting any form of mentorship there needs to be a clear understanding of the reasons for doing it. Only once these are understood can a program be put together. Good mentorship needs to careful thought as no one program will suit everyone. It sounds a lot of effort, that’s because it is! Without the effort, the true value of any guidance may be missed. But there is so much to gain, this is one reason why I believe that mentoring… Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

I recently watched the movie Sully starring Tom Hanks. Most people will remember the actual event on January 15th, 2009 that the film is based on but I didn’t know anything about the pilot or the investigation that followed. Not only did I really enjoy the movie, I thought it provides some great examples in leadership.

For those who don’t know, or remember, what happened this is about US Airways Flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson River, New York. Three minutes after takeoff the plane struck a flock of birds which took out both engines. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger decided there wasn’t enough power to reach nearby airports so opted for the river with all 155 passengers and crew surviving. During the investigation the board initially believed the decision to land in the river was a pilot error but as it continued Sully was cleared of any fault.

Was… Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

When I first became a tech manager it was an exciting time, I knew it would be a challenge and was ready to go! I quickly realized management is not something a two-day training course can really prepare you for but I had one thing going for me, I knew I wanted to be a manager. I made mistakes and was certainly naive in situations but I was learning and gaining experience at every opportunity. Looking back over the years certain areas stand out that I believe are needed to be a successful tech manager.

We’re not short on articles listing the attributes of a good manager/leader, each has similar themes including communication, honesty, transparency, humility, etc. Nothing wrong with these and I believe they are essential to the success of any manager. I want to look at a few others, some are personal traits while others are more practical… Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Recruitment is rarely seen as an exciting process but it should be because this is a chance strengthen your team. The new role could be to replace someone or grow the team, either way, there’s an opportunity to bring in some new skills or experience that will benefit the team as a whole. The technical side adds more challenges to the process, but again, it’s a chance to find the right person while, at the same time, giving them a glimpse into the type of company you are. Recruitment is time-consuming so you want to make that time count and get value out of each stage otherwise it’s a waste of everyone’s time and potentially a damaged reputation.

The process needs to fail fast, don’t waste time on different stages if the candidate is not suitable. What is most important for you in the person? This could be a… Continue reading