On today's episode of Programming Leadership, we dive into what is needed to establish safety in your own organization. Trust is just one of the key pieces that make up the structure of safety in a work environment, along with actual physical measures, active communication, and regular feedback. The people who make up your organization are an integral part of the safety structure. An exchange of ideas and criticisms between subordinates and superiors should be shared, but boundaries must be...
Training, done properly, is a specialized type of learning that companies can use as an investment in their personnel or as a box that gets ticked off each year as mandatory practice. What are some of the best practices for training? How can employees prepare to learn?
I think that good training and good learning go hand in hand
Nowadays there's a whole host of different options for every technology.
I think it's also healthy for an organization to say, "We're investing in you. We...
When you as the manager treat your peers, other managers in the organizations as your first team, it changes your stance. It changes the way you work. It creates intentionally a set of allies you can problem-solve, people problem-solve with, people you can collaborate with. This is a little bit different idea than my first team of the people that work for me. Instead, your first team becomes those other engineering managers, directors, VPs, whatever it is, those peers, those all-important...
Does project work feel like a guessing game? What happens when projects go off track, and how can this affect customer relationships? Better yet, how can we navigate uncertainty when we estimate and plan -- but things still go wrong? Standing in uncertainty, learning to handle it, and living in inquiry are topics of discussion in this episode.
We're going to talk about the idea of being able to hold uncertainty in our mind, start to get comfortable with it, and some mental tools...
At Stripe, guest Will Larson received his first official management training by an employer. It taught him about different management styles, problem solving, and more. But most employees don’t get management training, which can cause problems down the road. Marcus and Will discuss this, plus what it takes to handle leadership roles.
Most coders don’t aspire to be managers
“there's that idea that really if you think about the consequences and the kind of statefulness of these...
If a friend asks you to help them move something heavy, like a rock, you probably wouldn’t think twice. But if they asked you to take care of their pet monkey… That’s the beginning of our chat with Matt Greenberg, Vice President of Engineering at Credit Karma, who compares problems of various types and sizes to monkeys and rocks. The goal of effective leaders should be to break down bigger problems into smaller ones, going from monkey-sized problems to smaller, rock-sized ones.
The only constant is change, and Heidi Helfand knows a thing or two about changes in organizations. From reteamining to reorganizations to just shuffling a member or two, in this episode we’ll learn how to think about these inevitable changes and what to do when they happen.
What are some of the kinds of change that a team might undergo?
Dynamic reteaming comes in these five structural patterns
The metaphor of the eco-cycle
Different types of mentoring
What does it mean to have a...
Emotional intelligence is essential to good leadership, but many CTO’s stress the importance of IQ instead. To move from contributor to manager, it’s a good idea to invest the time to explore EQ, as well as personality profiles to better understand how to manage people.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0
Avoidance and collaboration
Dealing with conflict
It takes practice to change old habits
Do people really crave feedback? That’s the assumption a lot of managers make, so in this episode we’ll talk about what feedback really means and how you can give it in a meaningful, productive manner.
What is the history of feedback?
Your output becomes their input
The limits of perception
Using attention properly
Your people are NOT rose bushes
Keeping things positive
In this episode, we’re talking to Amy Phillips and Aaron Randall (CTO of Songkick) about the path from programmer to manager. How did they get there, what did they learn, and what can you learn from their experiences?
What lessons were learned in the early phases of their careers?
How do you change when the industry changes?
The importance of having difficult conversations
You can’t know all the answers
On peers, managers, and building a support network
We’ve all experienced feedback that was unhelpful - but why was it that way? Supervisors want to motivate us, and bring out our best, but perhaps they don’t always think about the feedback they’re giving. Is it really helpful? Is it addressing the real problem? What’s the context? In this episode, we’ll look at how our perceptions can change how we respond, and why authentic feedback is genuinely helpful.
Sometimes we ascribe motivations that aren’t there, causing us to provide...
Breaking a problem down can help you see it more clearly, and attack the issues wrapped up in that problem more effectively. Sometimes we tackle problems that are large or connected to other issues, and it can be helpful to take a step back, consider other perspectives, get more information, and try breaking things down and solving each issue individually.
There’s always more information.
Consider more sources of information.
Challenge your assumptions, and try to integrate...
What motivates your programmers? In this episode, Marcus looks at the various factors that impact motivation, and why one of his engineers just wasn’t grooving on a project. Chances are you’ve got teammates who feel the same way. Guess what? It’s not that they’re lacking in motivation, it’s that they’re no longer motivated by what’s being given to them.
People ARE motivated, that’s why you hired them. They lose some of that when they aren’t given new challenges.
Is it wise to...
There is an inherent difference between leaders and managers that is often overlooked. While most think that leaders are “born,” Katie Womersley, VP of Engineering at Buffer, disagrees. Leaders and managers both require skills that can be taught, and developing those employees from within the company can be the most timely and economically efficient way to do so. We also discuss the perception of status, authority, and vulnerability with the workplace.
What is Buffer?
Often times people find themselves in a place where they feel trapped or stagnant in their lives. It can be trapped in a job or in a relationship and making a change may not always be the easiest thing to do. Because we are human, we find ourselves in situations where it is hard to leave or change because we are connected to people, systems or organizations.
In this episode of Programming Leadership, Jessica Kerr joins me to talk about the complex topic of moving out of stagnation and into...
Performance improvement plans (PIP) are difficult not just for the employee receiving the plan but also for the boss and others in upper management deciding to implement one. It’s easy for the employee to be upset or angry when put on a PIP but if used correctly, they can be a valuable tool for improving performance and building trust. In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus talks through a tough human resources topic and provides perspectives from both the employee and management...
If you’ve ever wondered about what it could look like to go from being an engineer to the senior executive level of your company, you won’t want to miss this episode. This week on the Programming Leadership podcast, Marcus interviews Eric Muntz, the Senior Vice President of Engineering at MailChimp. They discuss Eric’s career shifts as well as the challenges and lessons he’s learned along the way.
One of the first lessons Eric learned in management was how to listen well. It’s...
Good leadership looks like a flock of birds. That doesn’t mean everyone on the team has to dress in feathers, rather it means leadership is dynamic, shifting, and also tight-knit. In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus talks about what it takes to be a good leader and provides real solutions on how to build trust and gain feedback from your team.
Being a young leader over a team with more experience requires emotional intelligence and collaboration in order to build...
Have you ever wondered why people can't just be clear and direct? In this episode of the Programming Leadership podcast, we're going to discuss this problem, identify some possible root causes, and learn how we can be more simple and clear in our communications.
When you become a manager, you may find yourself using jargon without much forethought. Don't let yourself go there. You're only puffing yourself up and making your communications less clear.
This week, we’re talking about the programmer to manager to leader transition. What makes this transition hard? Is it possible to become a manager if you’re lacking good role models? How do you really become the leader you want to be proud of? Tune in to find answers to these questions and more.
Why is the programmer to manager to leader transition hard? For starters, you’re no longer “just” coding, so it feels like you’re leaving something you love. It’s also difficult to envision...
Tiger Woods wasn’t born golfing. He did spend time, lots of time, practicing and he became good at it. People have inherent traits but being good at something takes time, effort, and practice. In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus talks about the importance of not solely focusing on things that people are naturally good at. It’s important to branch out of our comfort zones and learn new skills and is it only with practice and learning that we become better at those skills. And...
It’s a fact of life that people are imperfect, so why do we try as coders to be perfect in our jobs? It’s just not feasible nor rational. This episode of Programming Leadership sheds light on the unrealistic expectations that clients, bosses and ourselves set because we strive to be perfect in an imperfect world. Programmers need to set realistic goals with their bosses, teams and with themselves. It’s only when we get real, do real results happen.
Leadership is creating an...
This week on the Programming Leadership podcast, we’re diving into the theories and definitions of what leadership means and looks like (and even what it doesn’t look like)! Even if you wouldn’t call yourself a “natural born” leader, Marcus encourages you to remember that leadership is a process, requires learned skills and everyone has the building blocks to become a great leader. So, what are you waiting for? Tune in to find out how you can start building your leadership skills today.
This week on the Programming Leadership podcast, host Marcus Blankenship shares his core beliefs about what it truly means to be a manager. He discusses the differences between the management and leadership and highlights key aspects of leadership that inspires anyone, regardless of job title or natural born talents, to step up and lead with confidence.
It’s important to find out what it takes to be a great leader, even if you never get promoted to manager. And that’s exactly what...
Welcome to the Programming Leadership podcast! In this episode, you’ll meet the host, Marcus Blankenship, as he introduces his passion for helping programmers navigate transitions. After all, most engineers don’t plan on becoming managers. So whether you’re a new programmer, you’re on the management track, or if you’ve been a manager for years, be sure to tune in as Marcus will help prepare you to not become just a manager, but how to truly become a great leader.
For Marcus, his...