Jul 21, 2023

6 is the number people tell you when they're unhappy
Read about this in the article Numbers To Know For Managing (new tab) by Stay SaaSy (new tab).
This one changed my perspective on company surveys and numerical feedback. As a manager, I frequently use scales to rate things and get feedback.
A typical example would be a question like "How satisfied are you with your role" where the individual can choose a number between 1 and 10.
I used to be very naive about the results, thinking that everyone above 5 would be fine, while only everything below is really worrysome. But it seems to be quite different. People usually choose everything from 7 to 10 if they're actually satisfied. A rating as high as 6 could already mean that they're preparing to quit.
I wouldn't agree that it's always the case, but definitely something to look out for.

Jul 07, 2023

Reverse-engineering the interview process
Heard about this practice on the Managing Up (new tab) Podcast.
Hiring great people is a challenging task. It already starts with the job ad. Turns out it's not as straightforward as it might seem to figure out what one is searching for. What skills should a candidate bring? What values are really important to us?
Instead of trying to figure that out from scratch, there's a much simpler solution: Reverse-engineer the process by looking at the people that already work with you. What is it that makes them great colleagues?

Jun 28, 2023

Name it to tame it
Learned this in Josh Tichauer (new tab)'s blog post The power of empathy in software development leadership (new tab) about emotional intelligence.
He starts by talking about how important emotional intelligence is as a manager and later recommends a technique to develop it.

"Emotional intelligence enables you to respond to difficult situations with empathy and compassion, rather than frustration or anger. It also helps you to build deeper relationships with your team members, as you are able to connect with them on a more personal level."

He recommends the "Name it to tame it" technique to develop emotional intelligence and it's quite simple: You name the emotion you are feeling which helps to regulate the amygdala, the area responsible for processing emotions.
This technique allows you to respond to challenging situations with clarity and compassion, rather than being controlled by your emotions.

Mar 10, 2023

Letting someone go is much harder than fair salaries
Might sound obvious, but when we did the salary negotations, I wasn't really anticipating that I'd have to let someone go in the near future.
Needless to say, that it was one of the most challenging things in my career yet and most definitely the toughest thing as a manager.

Lay-offs suck.

Feb 21, 2023

Suggestions from a powerful person tend to be followed
Today's learning comes from another book: The Culture Code (new tab) by Daniel Coyle (new tab).
It might seem obvious at first, but I had to experience myself first to fully understand what it means. In product-focused companies, it's not uncommon that cross-functional teams work on a specific part of a product, effectively owning all processes and decisions. Yet, there often is some kind of approval process that includes C-level executives, if not the CEO themself.
A team might have put a lot of effort into a feature, including research and data gathering, but sometimes a single comment from upper management can lead to a lot of uncertainty, stress and last-minute changes in the end. Most often it turns out that it wasn't even meant that way, but the suggestion is still followed. How would you possibly disagree with your CEO, right?
Turns out, you need to be very careful with whom you ask for feedback and powerful people need to be very careful with what they say, even if it's just a little comment on something, because - even if you don't like it - it might eventually be followed.

Feb 02, 2023

Fair salaries are extremely hard in remote tech teams
Let's be honest. Salaries are always a delicate topic. In my career, I already had quite a few different negotations from 1-1 with my manager to open team discussions.
Yet I was always on the employee side though. This year I'm facing my first full salary review as an engineering manager and to be fully honest again: I had no idea how hard it is.
For small teams where everyone lives in the same area and has the same currency it might be straightforward, but dealing with a distributed remote-first team with different local currencies and thus different exchange rates is such a tough task.
The goal for everyone is to have fair salaries of course, but what is fair?
Do you pay the same salaries, no matter where people are located?
Do you consider different tax rates and cost of living in general or is it purely performance based?
Do you use a base currency and calculate the rest with the current exchange rates?
How do employee salaries compare to consultant rates?
Would love to hear how others are doing it, feel free to reach out to me!

In addition to that, it doesn't help that we're facing a huge recession in the industry right now with tons of layoffs everywhere in tech.

To The Top