4 min read

The Leadership Garden Newsletter – #55

The Leadership Garden Newsletter – #55

Hello friend, I’m Csaba from Leadership Garden, and this is a weekly list of interesting articles that I come across that help me grow my thinking.

I hope you find something new to think about and share it with your friends.

And, if you forgot, this is in your inbox because you asked me to send it to you. You can always unsubscribe by clicking the link at the bottom of this email.

Enabling Good Work Habits Through Reflective Goal-Setting

Abi Noda summarizes a paper by André N. Meyer, Gail C. Murphy, Thomas Zimmerman, and Thomas Fritz. This study explored developers’ goals and strategies for improving productive work habits.

  • 🔍 Reflective goal-setting boosts workplace productivity.
  • 🎯 Study emphasizes cultivating effective work habits via reflective goal-setting among software developers.
  • 🔄 Daily goal-setting and reflection correlate with increased developer productivity.
  • 📋 Developers establish goals spanning time management, reducing deviations, amplifying team impact, work-life balance, and continuous learning.
  • ⏳ Developers aim to regain work control for enhanced task completion.
  • 🔍 Reflective goal-setting aids in pinpointing specific goals for productivity improvement.
  • 🚀 Reflective goal-setting prompts positive behavior shifts and heightened perceived productivity.
  • 👥 Leaders can empower individual productivity by endorsing goal-setting and consistent reflection.
  • 🕰️ Developers' overarching ambition revolves around reclaiming mastery over their time.
  • 🔄 Over time, reflective goal-setting becomes progressively more seamless.

Bottleneck #04: Cost Efficiency

Surging cloud and managed services costs outpacing customer growth. Be sure to check out the earlier articles in the series, too!

  • 🏢 Orphaned systems can emerge due to organizational changes and attrition.
  • 🔄 Validate ownership boundaries and review existing systems.
  • 📊 Maintain a service catalog or start with a tech landscape snapshot.
  • 🛠️ Assign owners to systems based on business criticality or cost impact.
  • 💼 Team leaders are accountable for their teams' system costs.
  • 📈 Embed cost reviews into rituals and KPIs.
  • 💰 Consider cost implications, consult leaders for decisions.
  • 🌐 Cross-team collaboration needed for certain cost actions.
  • 🧩 FinOps culture encourages cost ownership and collaboration.
  • 👀 Make system costs visible through tags or labels.
  • 🛠️ Tools like Backstage encourage cost-efficient choices.
  • 🛢️ Use templates for streamlined decisions.

Square’s Updated Growth Framework for Engineers and Engineering Managers

Last week we saw Dropbox's new framework, this time I present you yet another framework you can check out and get ideas from! If you want to skip the intro and description, jump to the matrix directly here.

Manage your priorities and energy

Another great piece of advice from Will Larson.

  • 😌 The “company, team, self” prioritization framework was emphasized while managing at Uber, guiding decisions in order of company, team, and self priorities.
  • 🤝 The framework helped make correct decisions and resolve disagreements with peers who prioritized individual or team preferences over the company's interests.
  • 🧠 As an experienced manager, the initial framework shifted due to recognizing the importance of balancing personal energy and engagement.
  • ⚖️ Energy management is crucial; allowing individuals to pursue tasks that energize them can positively impact productivity and overall team morale.
  • 🚀 A modified framework, “eventual quid pro quo,” integrates company and team priorities with the recognition that maintaining energy and engagement is vital.
  • 🪞 Prioritization frameworks can be useful, but they don't always tell the whole story; context and nuance play significant roles.
  • 🔄 Flexibility is key; strictly adhering to prioritization models can limit success, especially in senior roles that require collaboration and adaptation.
  • 📝 While there are various team prioritization frameworks, this article provides insight into personal prioritization for individuals seeking to maintain energy and balance in their careers.

Strategy for Engineering Managers

Francisco discusses how engineering leaders can form mid- and long-term strategies to improve their team’s system.

  • 💪 EMs balance execution and growth, addressing slow-burning challenges.
  • 🌟 Strategy means acting on challenges, not just grand plans.
  • 🚀 EMs identify and improve issues within their influence.
  • 🧩 Teams improve amidst rising complexity; crises risk neglect.
  • 🎯 Aligning strategy with goals drives effective execution.
  • 🤓 Prioritization ensures focused and effective improvements.
  • 🤝 EMs involve their team within their sphere of influence.
  • 🔁 Continuous follow-up ensures lasting change.
  • ⭐ Quality must persist during improvement efforts.

12 things your executive coach wants you to know

Not only for executives – a very valid set of ideas for any leader out there!

  • 🧠 Self-regulation is crucial; senior leaders need self-awareness to adapt to their team's needs.
  • ⚖️ Personal sustainability is vital; leaders must care for themselves to care for others.
  • 🐢 Go slow to go fast; avoiding rushed fixes leads to more effective outcomes.
  • 🦸‍♂️ Humility is a superpower; combining it with resolve creates effective leaders.
  • 🚫 Avoid “yes” men; diverse perspectives fuel innovation.
  • 👥 Your success depends on your team; hiring the right people for the job and culture is vital.
  • 🚪 Remove underperformers promptly; empathy matters, but repeated underperformance requires action.
  • 🎯 Effective hiring is key; focus on qualities exemplary performers possess.
  • 🔄 Growth demands change; prior success might not work in higher leadership roles.
  • 🌍 Define reality for your team; provide clarity on goals, values, and the journey.
  • 📎 Delegate wisely; let others handle tasks to focus on unique contributions.
  • 🤝 Seek help; building a support network and getting assistance enhances leadership.

Attention is All A Manager Needs

A.k.a. information management is a beast.

  • 🤔 Engineering managers and directors face challenges of managing information overload and scarcity simultaneously.
  • 🎯 Attention management involves knowing when to focus on details and when to zoom out for the bigger picture.
  • 📥 Proliferation of tools like Jira, Slack, etc., leads to continuous notifications, demanding attention prioritization.
  • 💡 Information overload wastes time, while relevant updates often fail to reach managers in time.
  • 🧐 New engineering managers struggle to shift focus from individual tasks to team and project management.
  • 🗣️ Extroverted managers rely on talking to team members, potentially leading to excessive meetings and interruptions.
  • 🙇 Introverted managers spend time reading through messages, documents, but risk missing crucial updates.
  • ⚙️ Reactivity trap: New managers handle issues as they come, becoming troubleshooters instead of strategic leaders.
  • 👥 Senior managers must manage information across teams, projects, peers, and the whole organization.
  • 👀 Widened perspective requires efficient strategies for information gathering and sharing.
  • 🗂️ Recurring checkpoints like planning sessions and stand-ups help teams share information effectively.
  • 📊 Creating a UX for information sharing reduces friction and maintains up-to-date data.
  • 🤝 Regular 1:1s not only with reports but also with peers help build relationships and share insights.
  • 🙅 Avoid name-dropping and shift focus from justifying information requests to sharing context.

If you liked this, please share with your friends and let them know how to subscribe. I'd be grateful for any feedback you have, just drop me an email at [email protected].

Buy Me A Coffee

Did you know all the newsletters are available online? If you're interested in earlier issues, simply visit newsletter.leadership.garden and have fun!