What is your leadership Mindset?

This practice of maintaining a leadership mindset and keeping it updated was a practice I learned from a a long time mentor and ex-Microsoft exec., Brad Carpenter. Thanks Brad. A lot of people have become better because of you!

This document outlines how I lead and manage the people working with me. I will never be perfect, but will strive to meet these philosophies and principles to the best of my abilities. Feel free to give me feedback about this doc or its content. Discussions about this doc with co-workers have helped improve both this doc and my philosophy over a period of 10+years that I have used it. Below is my document. Feel free to copy some of the text and edit as it suits you. Please pay it forward.

Shameless Plug: My team is hiring!

My Management Style
My intent is to make you a better employee, to achieve your career goals, and to give you an environment where you can succeed.

  • I believe in letting the best person do the job. I strive to empower you to do what you need to do and stay out of your way.
  • I am a rather simple person, I don’t like corporate politicking and am always looking to take the most efficient and productive path.
  • I do not shout at people but will drive and push my team to succeed.
  • I see myself more as team captain than a team owner. I like to get my hands dirty. Think of me as a co-worker, team member not a manager.
    You will see me ask questions about purpose, impact and end goals. My intent is always to improve focus
  • I also aim for an attitude of “doing the right thing for our users.” Leadership will always support this. Hence you should never let processes get in the way of good work.
  • I do not plan on taking credit for work you do, and I will do my best to defend you and take blows for the team as needed.
  • As I believe feedback plays a significant role in assessing my performance, your performance, as well as our team’s overall performance, I frequently solicit feedback from others.
  • I believe in hiring only the best. If any of us has any doubt about a candidate, we would rather pass.
  • I will be as transparent as I can, but sometimes that will mean you will hear how “I cannot tell you some things”.
  • I am extremely passionate about the work we do as a team, so you will see me disagree, and challenge. My intent is to get the best out of you and deliver the best experience for our end users.

Family comes first. Period — For me, my family is a top priority. Same goes for you. If you have family issues or personal issues that you need to attend to, please do so. Just make sure to put things on a shared calendar or let me know through e-mail.

Work/Life Balance is a Priority — I have seen many people burn-out as well as sacrifice their lives by working too much. I am not a believer in the 24/7 work schedule, so you will rarely hear me ask anyone in the group to work weekends, nor will I expect you to be on email at night. You will sometimes see me on mail end of the day. However, I do not have expectations of you to respond or deal with Action Items during non-business hours.

I believe in a Prioritization based planning. List all the things our team could be doing in order of priority & importance. Then add a line somewhere on the list to indicate what we are staffed and resourced to do. My expectations are then set relative to that line.

We will work hard and drive to solve big challenges, but I encourage all managers and employees in the group to think ahead and ensure workloads are manageable on a regular basis. We should be scheduling to a 40 hour week, not a 60 hour week.

Use your Vacation days. It’s there for a reason. The only thing I ever ask about PTO/vacation is that you give me/your manager enough notice so that we can plan for your absence.

Focus “Less but better”
It is all about getting the right things done. It does not mean doing less for the sake of doing less either. I am big proponent of Pareto’s Principle (80/20 rule). With a clear purpose and direction, we can focus on meaningful work. I ask questions to force you to think about the purpose.

Open Communications
We have a lot of passion, and we have some hard challenges. Communication is fundamental to get the things done. I encourage open and constructive dialogues. You should feel comfortable pushing back if you disagree with something. You should feel comfortable coming and talking to me about anything.

Decision Making
I am very much against HIPO. Decision making is not a single individual’s activity. Get involved, speak up. We are driving the business together and making the best decision with all the available data.

Disagree and Commit
There may be times that I will disagree with my boss and/or you will disagree with me. This is natural, but I take that further and then agree to commit to the decision made and move fwd as the team. It would be great to have the same of you.

Learn From Your Mistakes
Mistakes happen. Learn from them. Repeated mistakes are the ones to avoid. Try, fail fast and win!

Cross-Group Collaboration
Due to the nature of our work, successful cross-group collaboration is essential. For every project that requires cross-group collaboration with an internal group or another team, you will be measured not only on the outcome of the project, but also in the way you communicated, negotiated, and interacted with dependent teams.

Weekly updates
I take weekly updates seriously and you should too. There are two kinds of weekly updates that I require. One is a team deck, and another is an individual text document. The purpose of the deck is to bring exec attention and get maximum impact on projects. The purpose of text updates to keep me and the core team posted on what is the highest priority for you. I will share templates, and it should take less than 15 minutes per week to complete.

Career growth
Part of my job satisfaction comes from seeing my team members grow their career. Career development is a partnership between you and me. I need you to help me focus on things that are important to you so we can create an individualized plan. Here is a list to help you think through career growth:

  • Money: base salary, bonus, stocks etc.
  • Levels and promotions
  • Visibility, personal brand, influence (inside and outside the org)
  • Building a portfolio of work
  • Design skills, research methods, presentation skills, storytelling, creativity
  • Leadership, communication, confidence, thought-leadership
  • Horizontal development, switching to parallel careers
  • Building deep expertise in a specific area

Also If you prefer (don’t prefer) a particular type of recognition let me know. I am here to help you get where you want to go but expect you to be the driver.

I believe in recognizing everyone for a job well done (this includes peers and reports). Sometimes this is a blind spot for me. Hence feel free to prompt me.

Performance Feedback
I also believe that all managers should give consistent and on-going feedback throughout the review period. This feedback should have a good balance between positive and constructive feedback. We should schedule weekly 1:1s where we talk about status. Once every month we will talk about your career so that we can document small wins and progress. We will also use this time to course correct. This is also time to give me feedback. Again, if you have a preference on the type or frequency of feedback, please discuss this with me.

Connecting on social networks
In the past, I only connected with people on my team on professional networks (LinkedIn) and Facebook connection was for friends. However, I have changed my position on this and now friend people at work. I have come to realize that the more data we mutually have about each other, we build more empathy and respect. If you like to send me a friend request on any of the social networks, I’d be more than happy to add you.

How to Reach Me
The best way to reach me is through e-mail for most communication. I am on Slack, hangouts etc but not all the time. Use text/phone for urgent communications 408-xxx-xxxx.

I am in meetings a good part of the day, but do block my calendar to read and respond to e-mail once during the day. I am very conscientious about e-mail Inbox clutter free and respond to e-mail promptly.

Any questions or comments feel free to let me know.
-pree (Last updated Jan 18, 2017)