Some people’s implicit goal in most interactions is to see themselves as higher status relative to the person or persons they are interacting with. That motivates (and explains) their body language, what they say and how they say it. A lot of these folks don’t actually know they are doing this. Some will respond to feedback, but most never even receive feedback on this.
The impulse to pretend that nothing has happened is understandable, it carries a cost: You may actually heighten your embarrassment and distress. Instead, by acknowledging and addressing your embarrassment, you: (1) Diminish your embarrassment and the resulting distress. (2) Clarify the situation, restore consistency to your self-presentation, and reduce others' anxiety. (3) Role-model a productive response to unwelcome events.
Your area of influence should expand as you gain experience. Yet, there is an unfortunate shadow side to this approach: a ladder that conflates advancement with scope is a ladder that only rewards engineers who work on the largest projects. This doesn’t seem fair.
Sun Tzu wrote:
“When an army has the force of momentum, even the timid become brave; when it loses the force of momentum, even the brave become timid.”
The Skyscanner blog recently published a nice leadership journey where Andrew Phillips joined as a grad in 2009 and is currently VP of Engineering. He shares some lessons learned and insights in this leadership story.
“We are going to ask our employees to be in the office a maximum of 25% of their time. For the balance of that time, employees can be wherever they want, either in or out of the office. We really want to earn employee’s in-office time and be incredibly intentional about when we ask folks to travel.”
The Stack Overflow memes seem to be true: 60% of senior engineers commit 10-100 lines/week of copied and pasted code. And there is more: read the report to learn how 600 engineers (ICs and managers) spend time, from wrangling machines to wrangling people.
“Burnout is a thing; I hope we all know that. But let’s start small, just when the spark goes off. At first, there’s no drive for doing side projects. Then there’s no interest in new and once exciting things. At some point, it’s no longer about programming; it’s about work. Something got lost in the process. What then?”