A manager readme is an operating manual on your management style and philosophy. There has been a lot written about the usefulness of such a document. There are three reasons why I am publishing mine.
- It helps me reflect on who I am and who I want to be as a person and a leader. There are a ton of ideas floating in my head around management and leadership best practices. Penning them down gives them structure, scope, and life.
- It works great as an ice breaker and on-boarding document for new employees. It often takes days or months of 1–1 meeting time to establish relationships. I will often spend the majority of this time understanding what my team wants from me, and how I can help them achieve their goals. I may not be able to spend enough time explaining my philosophy and ideas. Although a document can never fully replace face-time, it will help set the context.
- It keeps me honest and accountable. If I veer away from the principles in this document, there better be a good reason for it.
Hi, my name is Madhu, short for Madhukaran Murali. The shorthand exists for a reason. I have been in the bay area for more than ten years now, and love every minute of it. I am an amateur blogger. I live with my wife and dog in Redwood City.
How I communicate
I will create a document for you to dump your thoughts into. We will have regular 1–1s and go over everything and anything you want to talk about. 1–1s are great for us to provide feedback to each other, and talk about stuff that’s more long term focused. They are also great for awkward conversations. They are not meant to be status update meetings. If something is impeding you from doing good work, we should work on fixing it asap. Nothing else is more important. Do not wait for 1–1s for urgent matters.
Your career growth is extremely important to me. It’s one of the primary reasons why I became a manager. I will do what I can to help you grow but I expect you to own your career and destiny. I am more of a guide and mentor. If I do not hear from you, I will push you to think about what you really want to do. Life is too short to have regrets.
Likes and Dislikes
One quality I have come to admire the most in engineers is thoroughness. No matter the project you work on, however big or small, I expect you to be thorough. If you are thorough in your research, and your execution, you will very likely succeed. I have found that the best people in our industry have this quality. This translates into one or more of these qualities, in no particular order
- You review your code multiple times before creating a code review.
- You do not start working on something unless you understand all the requirements and context.
- You make sure you document anything that can potentially impact others.
- You are aware of the impact and dependencies your work creates. You understand the stakeholders that are relying on you.
- You provide timely updates to these stakeholders, so they are never left wondering what the status of your project is.
This creates a sense of sameness and trust in your work. I know exactly what to expect. This is a manager’s dream.
Something that does irk me is unproductive hallway gossip. It’s unavoidable at times, and at other times, you want to discuss something that is bothering you, with colleagues and friends. I get it and that’s Ok. But be very mindful of gossip that only fosters negativity. Discourage it. Spend the time instead with your mentor on discussing issues that have a positive impact on your life. Those 30 mins matter.
I will give you constant feedback. And you do not have to wait for quarterly or yearly milestones to ask me for feedback on your performance. You can ask me at any point in time, and I will make sure you know how you are doing. I care about getting you to your maximum potential. I like to give very honest feedback and sometimes, it can sound blunt. I believe that open and honest discussions are the only way forward. Accepting feedback, acting on it, and making a positive change is a huge character building exercise and will do wonders for you in your career.
Talent does not have boundaries. I will try my best to be as remote friendly as I can when it comes to meetings, hiring and all other forms of communication. If I fail to do so, do not hesitate to remind me.
I will embrace the following and expect my team to do the same
- Empathy over judgment: There are a lot of reasons why people on the team may not act the way we want them to. The judgment does not help. Empathy may help the cause. Most times, having a conversation and providing feedback/talking-it-out can do wonders.
- Assume best intentions: Unless proven otherwise, assume that people want you to succeed.
- Have each other’s back and hold each other accountable. If you are unable to do so, let me know as soon as possible
- Learn and have fun together. This is the most important point. If you are not enjoying yourself, we should find ways to fix it.
I would not be successful if I do not do one or more of the following
- Provide context, to the best of my knowledge, for what you are working on and what’s coming up in the next month or quarter.
- Create a safe space for you to speak up and debate/discuss issues with me and the rest of the team.
- Provide timely inputs to you on learning and growth opportunities.
If I left on vacation for a month, and things run without chaos, I would consider myself successful.
What I am working on
When I am not thinking about everything stated above, I am working on the following. Feel free to chat/debate with me about any of this or talk about what you’re working on outside of work
Lastly, this is a living document. It will be updated as necessary. Feel free to give me feedback if you disagree(or agree) with anything in here.