If you are thinking about making the transition from an engineering role to a management role, then this episode is for you. In this session, we'll explore what our experience has been, and things to watch out for if you choose to make the switch!
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Phil: Previously on
Cassidy: Phillip, what is a nettle?
Is it like a kettle?
Phil: Nettle is not like a kettle two.
Cassidy: It's a plant.
Tara: Hey everyone.
Thank you so much for joining us on
another episode of Remotely Interesting.
Today, we have a special guest
to prove that we have friends.
Uh, we would love to introduce you
to Madleina Scheidegger who is the
engineering manager at the, of the
angular team at Google, uh, as well as
like a history of amazing management.
And also the very first thing you see,
by the way, when you Google your name
is your old dynamic languages MIT course
Madleina Scheidegger: I know.
in a while.
Madleina Scheidegger: I've had
a very, very low profile on the
internet until I took this job.
So there is the college years
and there's nothing in between.
And now there's me popping
up as part of Angular.
So I might have to go in
and change some things is
Tara: Do not change that because it
was like, I like, I totally dug into it
too, because I was like, what is this?
And so like the website one, is
like top of the line, amazing
like color, different colored.
Madleina Scheidegger: Now I have to.
Tara: And there's even like
the course list, like your age,
like your exercise listings for
like the dynamic language class.
It's so good.
I, you have to leave it forever
more and now you're welcome.
Cause it will get even more hits now.
Madleina Scheidegger: Oh my God.
They're going to wonder why the hell this
is constantly becoming popular again.
Tara: Today we're here to actually
talk about engineering management,
where we kind of delve into what
the top focuses and priorities, the
priorities of an engineering manager are.
And also what I think is important is
what engineering managers do not do.
Just kind of to jump us in, like,
um, do you want to give us a little
background of like, and like your
roles as, uh, during management
Madleina Scheidegger: I also put
the disclaimer that this is my
view and management, I think, I'll
have a slightly different view.
And I think it's also the fun thing
too, because I love talking to other
managers and learning from each other,
but there isn't a one right answer.
And I'm going to just throw it out
there because I think it's easy,
especially as engineers and
engineering background, you're like,
there must be the right answer.
There must be that one right way of doing
Phil: Teach us the way.
Madleina Scheidegger: Exactly.
And the one thing you have to learn as
a manager, one of the first thing is
like, nope, there is no one right way.
There's no feedback mechanism.
There's no feedback loop
if that is in any way tight or anything.
And you're just going to have
to wing it as you go along,
Phil: I think that's a very important
thing for Tara to get to grips with
because she's been telling me I've
been doing it wrong a lot, so, uh,
Tara: He's like, here's some advice
for you and I go wrong, Phil.
Madleina Scheidegger: there might be some
ways I don't know enough of the details.
I'll stay out of it, but.
Phil: Yeah, very diplomatic.
Cassidy: Probably healthy
Phil: I'm sorry.
I didn't mean to interrupt you.
Madleina Scheidegger: No worries at all.
I think I was finally going to
get to the actual Tara's question
instead of my own ramblings, but,
um, I'm one of those people has been
somewhat boring in her job history.
I don't know if that's the right
word or not, but I've actually been
at Google pretty much my entire
career of working professionally.
Um, and so this is where I also did
my transition going into management.
And I did this when I was part of search,
um, at Google working on the search
results page, working on the UI of it.
Um, the team I was part of is the
one that often dealt to care of sort
of almost like the framework of it.
So it was a lot of the white spaces
because there's some things that are
very good and deep into one specific
feature that they make sure with
all of their frontend to do well.
But then we were the team of making
sure it all lined up well, and there
was a header and there was columns
and there was even spacing across
everything and were the same colors
everywhere, because you know, if you
don't, you end up with like, I don't know
how many colors you might end up there.
And, and so that's where
I started managing.
And I think very typically
for engineering, what I did
was the TLM route, right?
You're a TL of a smallish team,
you also managing them, um,
and then you grow from there.
And so I grew up from the, um, on that
team from managing one team to managing
essentially two-ish teams to the point
where you're like, you're still managing,
you have every single person is
a direct report of yours, but
you're managing multiple projects.
You've working with TLs, you're not
just doing all the with yourself.
From there what I did is became a
manager in the, um, Android, Google
search app and managing teams and that's
where I started managing managers as
well, because the team was large enough
I can no longer have everybody
reporting directly into me.
Again, we were working more
on the feature side of things.
So more were trying to figure
out what the user journeys were,
what's the UI part of things, um,
focused again, mostly on the search
journey as part of that search team.
There were other parts of the team
were dealing with other aspects.
And from there, I became the
angular manager, um, about almost
a year ago at this point in time.
not quite a year, but almost,
Tara: Oh, wait, I take it back.
Madleina Scheidegger: um, and that's,
that's sort of maybe the short version
of my highlights of what I've been doing
and Angular is large enough as well
then, um, for a short while I was having
everybody reporting into me, but that was
definitely, there is limits on how many
of that and stuff and working on building
up the management team again, and sort
of making sure we have the right amount
of people reporting into each person.
Tara: You bring up a really
good point about management.
Cassidy: Thank you, Tara.
Tara: I heard that's a
big part of management.
For better or for worse.
Tara: and I mean, like we
always have that joke, right?
Like coding is easy people are hard.
Um, and I like, I always like to, like,
I feel like I hear this all the time,
but I think a really good distinguishing
factor about the management path is
you don't, uh, you don't get a, like,
um, a promotion to be a manager.
You switched to a management track.
Like, it's not like, oh,
you're so good at coding.
Here are some people.
Uh, I do.
Madleina Scheidegger: I think,
unfortunately it does happen though.
And I think that's where
Madleina Scheidegger: you're right though.
It shouldn't, and it would be ideal
if it wasn't, but I do see it too
frequently that it seems to be the,
oh, as you become a good engineer and
naturally your next logical step is
to start managing and not re and not
doing that at the acknowledgement that,
these are two different jobs
you actually want to manage?
Do you actually want to take on what this
entails or would you be happier, staying,
coding, being technical in that way?
Cassidy: I think a lot of
people think that's the only
way to move up in their careers.
Like it's the only sign of growth is, is
taking on some kind of management role.
And luckily I think that is less true now.
Like, like more companies are
creating career ladders that aren't
just, now you're a manager and
you don't get to code anymore.
Like, there's more of that, but
it's still a very common thought.
Madleina Scheidegger: Agreed, but
I think this is also how you in my
opinion, you can end up with people who
are not actually happy being managers.
Tara: Yeah, definitely.
Phil: Did you aspire
to be a manager before?
One or did you, did you, did it happen
to you and then you, you grew to like it,
which I think is quite a common thing.
Madleina Scheidegger: I wasn't aspiring
to be a manager when I first started, but
during my years being an engineer, I did
get to the point where I wanted to become
a manager for the sake of being a manager.
Um, probably another very
common thing to be doing.
And this is part of where I realized that
didn't enjoy this was hosting interns,
I think that's an easy way to start
getting a sense of, do you like
look helping someone else grow?
Do you like supporting someone else?
Do you like coaching in this capacity?
Um, because that's sort of the first
easy, easiest way, maybe the wrong way,
but it's the approachable way of trying
it out where there's a possibility and
it's very time limited to try it out.
And so by the time I became a manager,
I was part of a conversation with
my manager at that time of saying I
would like to grow in this direction.
I would like to give this a shot.
And then I stayed because I enjoyed it.
Tara: I do see that there is this common
thread though, of problem-solving.
Um, it between like IC work
and management, where you see
something that needs, that
needs, you know, thought to it.
And I know like when I switched over,
like my favorite part is definitely, what
are your, like a job as a job, as a job?
Like you, are you, the person
are the consistent, you know, so
like, what do you want to grow?
Like, what do you want your
career growth to look like?
Like, what do you want to work on?
And now we know that the, you know,
that teamed with the objective of
the company, like the goals of the
company for our team, how can we meld
those together to make, you know,
uh, to make it work in both ways.
Um, and so that's kind of like, how do
you like, is that a focus you have is
like that kind of career progression.
Madleina Scheidegger: Very much.
So I call it the four
dimensional Tetris game
Tara: Now everybody will
want to be a manager.
Madleina Scheidegger: Because what you say
is exactly right, how do you help a person
grow, given what you have going on in
the, at the company and the project, the
team you're on or the things coming up.
But part of it is that, you often
cannot be optimal at any given
one time, there's just work.
That's going to have to be done.
There are things that we're going to
have to figure out the right person for
that moment, because it's not in the
sexiest sort of glamorous story there.
Isn't going to be always an
opportunity for someone to learn at it.
But this is where the fourth dimension of
time comes in, where you might be able to
like, okay, this is the project you have
right now, but then I'm going to line
up something else for you afterwards,
And it's trying to make it fit as
best as possible, but over a time
duration, because you might not be
able to make it always work in a,
you're always going to be making
trade offs at any given point in time.
But you want to make sure you don't
always trade off the same person all
the time, and that you sort of evenly
spread it throughout the team of like,
okay, who's going to, who's getting which
opportunities at which point in time
because that's the reality often too.
I said, there's always the things you have
to do, whether or not you want to or not.
But I think that's part of what I enjoy
is finding people grow in that way, but
also help giving them the opportunities
to grow with it and figuring out
how I can make that work while still
doing all of the work we need to do.
I am no, it's very much all about
the people and this is where, this is
why I stay in it because I enjoy it.
Um, I get that kick out of
seeing people get better again.
Master a skill they've been working on our
being able to take on the larger project,
the larger scope of something that before
that wasn't possible for them, you saw
them trying and maybe not quite succeed,
not being able to quite get it all done.
And so this is the reward as a manager
is seeing people grow in this way.
As a way of, as I said,
that's the kick out of it.
So it's all about the career progression
and figuring out how to make it work.
I think the other dimension is how
do you make it work in a larger org?
So this is maybe more something,
if you're a smaller company, might be a
little bit less of a concern, but if you
are in any company where there's multiple
teams is, how do you work with others?
How do you interact with each other?
What's the overlap between
your team, their team?
What, what are we working on?
What are you working on?
How is this all coming together?
Um, so in some ways you're just
taking on very different challenges.
And so it's not just the inward
focus of the team, but it's also
the sideways focus and some of the
gray upward focus, but like, how do
you interact with the other teams?
How do you interact with your
management chain is being that umbrella.
Brittney: Did you notice that you had
specific skills that made you think
that you would be a good manager or
that helps you to be a good manager?
Madleina Scheidegger: I don't
know if I went into it going like,
oh, I have these skills, this
is going to make me great at it.
Um, as much as I realized that
was probably not going to suck
at it, but you know, that's not
really an endorsement per se.
Um, I think what I've learned since
then thinking about what's actually
been helpful is, and what I see of other
folks who've been very successful as
managers too, is there's a bit of an
intuition of being able to read people,
um, because a lot of people will
not tell you what they actually need
. There was actually a conversation
just recently on the team with,
um, my other, if the some manager
had, we were discussing what was going
on with a couple of folks on the team
and, and it was all about like, well,
I think this is what's happening, but
this, you know, it's never going to be
the person that's gonna out come to you
and say, I need, you know, X, Y, and Z.
It's a lot of time.
It's that juggled image that jigsaw
it's being able to pick up on those
clues of being able to understand
people enough, understand your peeps
enough that, and this is why you want
to build up that relationship, because
maybe you will get to the point where
they're trustworthy to you to come
with their deepest, darkest secrets,
or really come out at moments where
it's hard for them to say, I need help.
But before then you also need it helps
you read them better to understand, oh,
this person, when they do this really
what's going on, is that more, this is
how they, you know, this is how they're
show that they need more support,
or this is how they show um, they're
struggling with this or whatever it is.
And so, I think that's a, and
it's hard to judge, right?
Like it's, it's one of those where,
as I said, when I went into it, I
wasn't, I wouldn't have said I'm a
people person in that way of being
able to be good at reading people,
it turned out I'm good enough at it
to be pretty successful as a manager.
Tara: I mean, I think, I think you bring
up a really good point in that too.
Like that the whole trust part
of, of that management process
of people, like I trusted Phil
enough that I touched his face.
Ben: That is true.
That did happen
Phil: Oh, thank you for waiting
until it took a big swig of
juice before you said that.
Tara: But I mean, like, it's definitely
hard, cause I feel like there's this,
um, kind of backing or like this push
against like, can you trust them?
Are they gonna, like, one have my back
when I need them to, but also like,
can I tell them like, truthfully what
I want to do or are they going to go to
someone and be like, oh, you know what?
They, they don't want to work.
Get rid of them.
That's not what I told anybody.
I love working.
Working is great.
Madleina Scheidegger: And, and some of it
is it's also going to be very hard to be
vulnerable in that way and being in state.
I'm really not good at this.
I need help with us because that's
not something that can be easy to
admit rigor on top of everything else.
So almost have the, I think
we all struggle with imposter
syndrome all the time.
And so it can be very hard to admit that
I'm really struggling with this area.
And so that's a large part of it.
Phil: Yeah, I think uhm like admitting
you don't know, or admitting a weakness
or a gap is, is, uh, a really valuable
thing to do, no matter what your
position, you know, where wherever you
are in, you know, in the management
kind of ladder, but hearing that from
somebody who you do manage, I think.
And it feels like a very, like,
almost a generous thing for someone
to say, because it kind of affords
you this insight so quickly.
Cassidy: It's like a cheat code, honestly.
Um, getting that insight quickly is,
is, is great if you don't have to
go and discover it for yourself, if
someone is, has that awareness and
they're also open enough to share it,
it's, it's a very generous thing to do.
And it's really valuable someone, someone
did that, um, with me in an interview
recently, which I also thought was, just
w it's a really wise thing to do, right?
I mean, I know there's the whole thing
of fake it till you make it, but let's
be honest, it's better to be honest and
say right here are the things I, I want,
here are the things that I'm aspiring to.
Here are the areas I know I need
to grow because it just, you
know, it's, it's, it's like being
honest on your dating profile.
If I said I was six foot five and
then I turn up and it's, uh, it's
very quick to discover that I'm
not, um, you know, for example.
Um, so yeah, I think that
kind of honesty is brilliant.
Madleina Scheidegger: It seems that you
need someone to have your back, right.
And people will know how to help you
and support you, whether or not is
your manager or if it's your peers,
you're never alone in some ways.
And the best way you can make sure that
you get the support that you need in the
moments where you need it the most is
being honest about, Hey, by the way, in
these, every time there is a big meeting
and we have or we are present in these
scenarios and someone asks me a question.
I'm going to freeze up for a few seconds.
And then maybe if someone else knows that
they can jump in in those moments and do
it, deflection, or start answering and
giving you a moment to think and breathe,
um, whatever it might end up being.
But it's like, that's how you're
going to get the support network to.
And when it comes to weaknesses, I
know a lot of individuals are afraid
to necessarily share that, right?
Cause it shows like almost like a
sign of weakness and vulnerability,
but at the same time, I think having
seen so many career plans, when you
try to present yourself as like,
you're this perfect person like, oh,
I don't really have any weaknesses.
It actually makes it hard for
the manager when it comes to your
career progression to go like.
Uh, what do I ask them to work on?
And so then sometimes they kind of force
themselves to ask people, Hey, can you
give me something for them to work on?
And that ends up, I think, coming
up with like contrived weaknesses,
whereas like, if you could just be
more forward about it, actually you
can actually get help where you need
it, rather than someone being like,
um, I think they could do this better.
And then it's like, is that
really helpful to anyone?
I don't think it is.
Madleina Scheidegger: All of
us are constantly learning and
constantly working on skills.
So even as something that you're
good at, there's probably always
room to get even better than that.
And so, but if it turns out, you know,
the worst thing that can actually happen
in those moments is that, you really
want to work on your technical skills
of doing, like getting a everyone bought
into your design and your manager goes
like, well, which not knowing that
and having to pick something and say,
let's have you go talk to leadership.
And you're like, no, no, no, that's
actually not what I wanted to do.
And so you end up with a mismatch of
like my, your manager moves you in a
direction where you're like, actually
I have no interest in, in this at
all, but they did it because they
had no idea what you were actually
interested in exploring and learning.
And I think that's also why I've seen
more and more references, and I don't
know, dug into it, enough of it where
the emphasis should be maybe not just
about your weaknesses, but more about
what you want to learn, because I think
there's been more focus on like actually
leaning into your strengths is more
important than continue to leverage
them then having to be perfect at
everything or knowing everything you do.
and so in, in this way, I think rephrasing
it is what do you want to work on?
Might be more useful way than what are
you weak at because now you could be
strong at it, but you actually want
to begin even better at it because.
Allow you to succeed even more
than what you are currently.
Tara: And I think there is like this
tendency in our field in particular of
like, you hit a bug and you sit there.
And your head against the wall and
struggle and struggle and struggle
instead of like maybe pivoting and
trying something else or getting up and
walking away and like, you know, doing
something else instead of struggling.
And it's, it's almost like you could
also do that with your career where you
just like, keep on the struggle and just
like, oh, I got to get better at this.
I gotta get better at this.
Instead of being like, oh, by
the way, I'm also good at this.
Maybe let's spend some time
there and not be so sad.
Cassidy: I learned about
that a lot in, it was a book.
I think Ben actually recommended
to me, Think Again by Adam Grant.
And it was it's, it's a great
book and it basically is just
like, you should rethink things.
That's the high level
summary of the whole book.
But, uh, one of the suggestions
that they put that, that the author
put in there was, um, that every
six months you should do some kind
of life assessment of yourself.
Like, are you going in the
direction that you want to go in?
Is your career going in the
direction that you want to go in?
And, and basically rethinking saying
is if I'm happy in this great, good.
If I'm not, or if, uh, if I'm, I
think that I'm going in a way, or
if my goals aren't exactly what I
want personally or professionally,
what changes do I have to make.
And reading that was so helpful for me,
just because there are times
where you say like, yes, I'll do
something and then it's not actually
something that you should be doing.
It just looks good on your resume.
So you say yes to it.
Um, and I think that would be
particularly helpful for people who are
considering management or people who
are managers, but miss it, I, uh, IC
work or something along those lines.
Madleina Scheidegger: Agreed.
I think there's two parts in
there that I value very much.
And I try and, um, talk
a lot to my team of them.
One of them is reflection and
taking that time every, it's so easy
just to keep going day to day and
what you're talking about there.
And I think it's all very valid because
six months seems a good cadence and
or whatever may work for you, but
make sure you take that step back
and go like, well, part of what I'm
doing tonight is working for me.
What isn't, what am I enjoying?
What am I not enjoying?
Do I need to make any changes?
And the conclusion could be,
there is no changes needed.
But it is important to not just stay
with your day to day and just continue
putting one foot in front of the other
without realizing where you're going up,
the wrong mountain, where are you going?
And it's both professionally in terms of
career wise, or sort of personally in the
sense of what matters for you, but it's
also kind of habit for the project, right?
And like, are we actually still
going in the right direction?
Or we started climbing the wrong hill
over there, but we're meant to be
climbing over here because we didn't
realize which direction we're going.
Um, but the other one that you
mentioned, um, I was saying that
one of the VPs in search had for a
little while, it's important to make
intentional choices and not just try
to fall into, and in this case it was
actually all the one tech debt, which
we all know about where the point was.
Not that sometimes it's okay
to take on tech debt, but
you have to make that choice.
You can't just fall into it because
you didn't realize that was the choice
he made, but it's all about these
intentional choices of making it.
And if you say yes to a project, make sure
you understand why are you saying yes to,
and what are you going to get out of it?
And maybe sometimes you're going to do
something that might not be your perfect
thing you want to do, or might not.
But you realize actually what I'm going
to get out of this, that, but, you know,
you've, you've made that intentional
choice versus always just saying yes.
So always just saying no or
whatever it ends up feeding.
Tara: I think another thing that,
um, uh, we should touch on is the
whole feedback, that situation.
Um, being an engineering manager,
um, it's I feel like there's, so
I'm a, I'm a big fan of radical
candor, the book and the activity.
Um, and, uh, one thing that I
definitely found in myself, uh, is a
thing they called a ruinous empathy
Madleina Scheidegger: Mm.
Tara: where you want to be so
nice and, uh, that you are, you
like a feign away from, from
giving negative feedback, but,
uh, that doesn't help people grow.
Um, so what do you like, what are
some things that you have found
about, about feedback of like,
how to give, how to receive.
Madleina Scheidegger: Yeah, I think
the book makes it a lot of good points.
The part that I find is it's hard to
make sure you don't tread over into the
jerk line where it can be very easy to
say oh just being radically candor with
like I'm trying to be radical candor
and really you're just being a jerk.
I think what has helped me the most
is, um, anchoring it on a specific
situation in specific instance.
We're just telling someone,
oh, you're being too quiet.
Well, what does that mean?
What do you want to do about this?
And, um, but if you say in this
meeting, there was an opportunity
for you to bring up your ideal.
Oh, making sure that it was heard
and then it was attributed to you.
By not speaking up, this didn't happen,
how do we make sure you get
comfortable enough to do it?
And then suddenly it's not about, oh,
you were too quiet in the meeting.
It was, here's the
situation that happened.
Here's the consequences for
you or the team or whatever,
what do we want to do about it?
And how do we address it?
And so that's where our tying
it to, but that also requires
you to do tight feedback loop.
You can't do that six months
later and be like, so remember
that meeting six months ago?
No, one's going to remember
the meeting six months ago.
It's a really, it's been for me, it's
been really anchoring to examples,
specifics in that way and making
sure, focusing on what is the outcome,
not how to do it necessarily because
people will have different styles
and especially around leading or TLs,
there's often that notion of
like, you need to be louder.
You need to be more visible.
That is the canonical way, but that
doesn't mean it's the only way.
So what, what are you trying
to achieve with being loud?
What are you trying to achieve with
being visible, while you're trying
to influence, but maybe actually
your influencing style is doing this
one-on-one behind the scenes
rather than being the most
visible person in a meeting.
And so focusing on that outcome, focusing
on the specific instances and working
with people through that and finding
their own style is the way that I found
most useful was giving good feedback.
Tara: There are a few things that, uh,
we still even have to touch on all the
things that engineering manager does,
Madleina Scheidegger: This is like a two
hour podcast topic, not a 30 minutes.
Tara: but it's a lot.
Cassidy: Clearing my calendar.
Tara: mean, because I, I mean, just like
an overview because you even just have
to talk about not only are working on
a individual people, but also the team
and organizing the structure of the
team, you know, giving missions for the
whole team to work towards together.
Um, and then like working, like
you said before in and out of your
team throughout the whole org.
Um, but then also, you know, actual
projects and, you know, project organizing
and, you know, relating that to each teams
like their goals and then each individual
goals, and then mapping that, like
the projects of that to the whole org.
So, like there are some,
there's a lot more to it.
Um, is there anything, like in
particular that you would like to
focus on of those topics before we
head into, like what we, what managers,
engineering managers do not do, you
know, just one sentence for all of that.
Madleina Scheidegger: I'm open to ideas.
I don't know if there's, as I said, there
is so much more to talk about any of them.
And I think actually the one
thing I will say is that part of
being an engineering manager is
wearing a lot of different hats.
I think you're a little bit of
an engineer or you're a manager,
you're also a project lead,
you're also program manager,
you're a product designer.
Sometimes you put on the UX.
Hopefully not the UX hat, at least in
my experience, at least not for me, but
it's a lot about finding what is the,
what does the team need in this moment?
What do I, how do I step into that
role and how do I step into, um,
supporting them in that capacity?
Also, you get either a person who is
more qualified for it, or maybe it's
just the way it works out at the moment.
So I'll probably just say that
from the long list you mentioned.
Ben: I mean something that really,
I think a theme that I've heard from
you that came up to me, it was that
it clearly, there's a focus on the
people around you and raising them up.
And I think I read in a book called
Mindset by Carol Dweck, which talks
about growth and the fixed mindset
where I think a lot of when it
comes to successful managers, they
are, they're good at lifting other
people up and helping them to shine.
Whereas there are managers who focus
on making themselves look good,
and there's a drastic difference.
I think, in that approach and the
impact you have on your company culture,
when a manager has either the it's
about me, or is it about the team and
ironically, when you focus on the team,
the team makes the manager look good.
So that's like a win-win situation.
Madleina Scheidegger: The
can do is get out of the way
Madleina Scheidegger: Right?
Like if you do the right things,
then the best thing you can do
is just step out of the way.
Uh, I don't know.
I'm definitely the person who
just sort of, I enjoy seeing my
team shine and I know it happens,
to reflect well on me as well.
But I agree with you Ben, I think it can
be there's some folks who don't look at
it that way, but I feel like I've more
also enjoyed being managed by folks
who have a similar philosophy as mine.
Cassidy: I think that overall that's
what makes you a good manager?
And I phrased it somewhat similarly only
instead of saying, get out of the way.
It's like, my job is basically
removing blockers so that people
can be the best that they can
be, even if I am the blocker.
And, uh, I think, I think that that is
how your team succeeds and that's how
you succeed as a manager for them is,
is making them do the best that they
can by removing blockers and letting
them grow in the ways they need to.
Tara: See, I said it in, in even different
way, you know, I always just said like,
I'm the wind beneath your wings, you know?
Brittney: I will carry
you where you need to go.
Cassidy: Wow, Tara.
Tara: But, I mean, I think that that's
like, it's so it's, it's like exactly
what you're saying though, of just
like what you're doing, like having
you grow, having you shine is like,
that's that's that makes me look good.
And that makes me feel great
knowing that I can help you do that.
Um, and I think that it's
also, um, I don't know.
I have, I have absolutely no problem
pushing everyone else into the spotlight,
um, especially when things go wrong.
Ben: For a second, my brain
was like, wait a second today.
Cassidy: Well, Tara is so giving.
Tara: I actually do try to do this
switch of like, when things go wrong,
I take that because like, I am at the
base of a lot of those decisions of
like putting my team in those paths.
And so, and I'm happy to, I'm
happy to take that off of my team.
Like, because that structure
is there in place for a reason.
Brittney: I feel like empathy is a big
part of it is having empathy for where
the people on your team are at any
given point is a big part of managing.
Madleina Scheidegger: You have
to meet people where they are at.
And that means you need to be
able to empathize with them.
Being able to understand where
they're at and being able to not
Cassidy: I think that's, that's something
that has been emphasized even more as
we have been in like a global pandemic.
And so, so many.
Madleina Scheidegger: unprecedented times.
Like I think, I think empathy has,
has become more of a priority for
managers in general because they
have to look, the people are stressed
more now than ever, and, and dealing
with a lot more now than ever.
And, and the opportunities to
interact to pick up those signals
has been different recently.
I mean, you know, that I've, uh, been
in the position where, you know, um,
team members have joined the team.
They've worked as me as their
manager for a while, and then
they've left the organization.
Uh, this sounds like I hustled them out.
I mean, time elapsed, and then they
moved on to other wonderful things.
Um, and we've, we never met
in physically in person.
So, you know, every interaction has
happened on, you know, through a screen
and that's, that offers a very different
set of opportunities to, you know, get to
know the person, get to understand, know,
what difficulties they're facing and
have those community, those moments
for communicating the details when it
only ever happens, I typed into a Slack
message or on a, on a, on a video call.
So yeah, I think, I think we are
definitely having to tune slightly
different skills to be able to pick
up on some of the, the important
signals that otherwise we would just
have a bit more readily available.
So yeah, tough times
Madleina Scheidegger: You also
lose out on being able to see them,
not in, uh, known timeslot right.
Like where, I don't know if that,
sorry that I came out a little weird.
I was trying to figure
out how to phrase it.
Then I will pick up a lot with like, oh,
this person used to come in everyday and
like 8am now they're coming in 11, right?
Like that's only, there's a signal there.
Whereas now all of my interactions
are we have a scheduled meeting.
We know we're going to meet, we're
going to talk at that point in time.
And there isn't any insight into
how are you not suddenly working
12 hours a day, or are you suddenly
only working four hours a day?
Whatever, which gives you other signals
something's going on in your life.
So let me go chat with them.
But now it's always like in a booked
timeframe where you know, you're
going to attract with each other and
you don't see them outside of that.
You don't see their body language.
You don't see if they're present or not.
Brittney: It's like
Instagram, you have a filter.
Tara: Yeah and I would say that's, that's
even like kind of that differentiator
between empathy and compassion.
Like, you may not know exactly what
somebody is going through, or like, you
know, chances are, all of our home lives
are drastically different, but to have
that compassion in order to, you know,
just be there for them and what they need.
And like one thing that stuck out
to me that I wasn't aware of before
I switched over to the management
track is how it goes both ways.
Like they will have this sense of like,
there's this thing that happens, I
was just talking about this with our
leadership team where, um, if I go,
oh, I'm stressed, I'm going to work on
the weekend while telling my, you know,
my team, do not work on the weekend.
Don't you dare work on the
weekend, but they see me do it.
Then they feel like their stress or
pressure happening that they should do it.
Um, and it's just
Madleina Scheidegger: Your actions
speak so much louder than your words.
That I think am taking a load off
of them to like, get this stuff
done, and in actuality, they have
these optics of like, all right,
why is she working on the weekend?
Um, and so like, so that's
why I don't work very much.
It's I mean, I think the
biggest gift you've...
Phil: biggest gift you've given to
your team is how very lazy you are.
It's a, it's, it's a
huge blessing for that.
But it's, it's weird to me.
How, um, you know, a while ago I, I
asked, you know, did you have, did
you aspire to becoming a manager?
And I think one of the reasons I asked
that is, is, uh, you know, I, I felt
like, well, that's, that's probably
what I need to do to progress because,
you know, we talked about, you know,
dust that's what happens after a while.
And, and when I did, did take my
first management job, It was a
little bit by accident, you know,
it was, it didn't that wasn't the
role I'd expected when I joined.
And then there was a bit of a
switcheroo and it's an, oh, by the
way, now you're managing this team.
And I was, I don't think
really I was ready for it.
And I, I, I was straddling.
Um, being a manager and also trying to be
a contributor all at the same time, which
is a difficult balancing act, I think.
Um, and it wasn't, I think for a while,
until I realized that one of the things I
enjoyed was seeing the success of the team
and, you know, it wasn't so much of, as I
thought, oh, I'll, I'll be good at that.
It was more a question of I'm really
enjoying, seeing the team kind of
blossom and prosper and that's that's,
to me, something that kind of hooked
me in deeper and made me think,
well, if I appreciate that and you
know, I can work towards that, then
that's, that's something that kind of
hooked me a bit a bit more, I think.
But it, I don't know if it's
similar for, for many people, but
it happened by surprise for me
because I didn't know what to expect.
Cause it was, it was all
of a sudden, there you are.
Madleina Scheidegger: I had a little
bit of that as a TL too where I
was really happy to push my, like
I wanted to give that spotlight
onto folks on my team already, too.
And so I think that's how I knew
him, but likely was going to be
happy with this role is because even
as a TL, before I became a manager,
I was always very concerned also
about the other folks on the team,
and I wanted to raise them up as well.
I don't want to give them that spotlight.
And I think I got a little kick
out of seeing them succeed there.
And so I knew I was going to
get a kick out of managing.
But I think also, I know, I don't know
if you've had this happen before too,
but people will ask me, so, you know,
I'm thinking about going into management,
what should I think about it or not?
And I think for me, the important part
in all this empathizing knowledge, you
reminded me of this is that you need to
be able to have those moments where you
enjoy managing for the sake of managing.
Where like what are not for
most of us, it's the sake of
seeing people develop right?
To kind of it's about seeing
people grow on, getting them,
recognized for what they can all do,
but there has to be something that
you're going to enjoy because otherwise,
like we all, let's be all real.
We're going to have days that are not
great being a manager, we're going to have
to deal situations we're dealing with,
and are not going to be easy if never
going to be emotional, whatever it is.
But so you need to have the good days,
the complemented and identifying what
that's going to be and make sure you
have it ahead of time or know that
this is going to be your focus for
the first six months is figuring out
what about whether you have thought or
not as I think important on whether or
not this is a longterm career for you or
Tara: So then what are things
that you make sure you do
not do as an engineer manager
Madleina Scheidegger: I think
actually we were talking
about a lot of it groups into.
So don't do everything that your
team should be doing, right?
Like it's being that out of the way being
the, you know, not trying to be more of
than every technical decision, not trying
to be more seeing every document, knowing
every line of code that's being written.
Um, in a lot of there's so many different
examples, but it really boils that
a lot of it boils down to not trying
to do everything on the team and
being able to like, let go of that.
Um, I would say the other
one is: let people fail.
Like don't be so hands-on that you are
not, or trying to be so protective that
nothing goes wrong because people are
going to need to fail in order to succeed.
But you need to be like
failing in a safe matter.
Let's be like, and not the flame
in front of the VP not Right.
Tara: I cut the brakes on the car.
Madleina Scheidegger: you
know, you need to, okay.
This, you can tell that this project is
likely going to run over by two weeks.
Let them run over.
And then you talk about why did they
run over or this conversation might
not have gone the best, but let them
go through it and coached a minute.
Find the moments where it's, where
it's important to not prevent people
from having that hands-on learning
experience of how do you get better at it?
How do you make all of this ha, how are,
they're not going to succeed otherwise.
And so it's, it's a delicate balance,
but I think that's another important
one is not being so day to day with
all of that, to not let people fail.
The other one I'll throw in which is
somewhere in between this and what
to do is, time is probably the most
precious commodity that all of us have.
Because there's always more
to do than what we can do.
One of the training classes I enjoyed
the most, I Google around leading and
managing how to phrase, which was what
are you uniquely qualified to be doing?
And I think that's a very interesting
thought to be asking yourself is what are
the things that you can do more uniquely
than anyone else on the team and what are
actually opportunities for someone else
on the team that might be routine for you.
Because it's so easy to continue to be,
oh, the main reviewer on this document,
there still be a code reviewer, still
being all of this, but actually giving the
room for someone else will be something
that's a chore for you, will something
be an opportunity for them to shine.
And then it allows you to
focus on something else that
you can't plug them into.
Like there are conversations I'm having
about getting more folks for the team.
That's not something I can
send, send off my TLS to go do.
That's my job.
That's the more uniquely
qualified for me to be doing.
But, they can perfectly set the
direction day to day on the team.
And I don't have to do that.
And so I think a lot of it, of what you
shouldn't be doing, most of it comes
down to where are you spending your time,
the best way to help your team overall?
Or are you doing the things
that are easy for you to do that
someone else can also be doing?
Phil: That's great.
Madleina Scheidegger: Yeah, I don't
know about w what about you guys
since you're all managers as well?
What are, what would you say you
shouldn't be doing as an engineering?
Tara: I don't know.
No, I'm kidding.
Like you, like, you've already touched
on like the biggest one for me with.
With the delegation of things,
because it's so easy to be
like, oh, well, I can do that.
Oh, let me take that.
I can do that.
Well then, you know, and just like, you
know, trying to clear the way and that
way, but then are you again, like, like
you're saying stealing opportunities
away from, so that even they get the
whole picture of what's entailed in
the project, you know, and the process.
Um, so like that, that was
a really big thing for me.
Um, and just like you're saying,
like really not giving them the
reins as well is a big thing that,
um, it's just like, I'm here.
If you need me, but go ahead and
steer and see where, see if you
get stuck, if and where that is.
And we can talk.
Cassidy: A phrase that I read recently
was like people making a monopoly of
themselves where are you, are you the
only person that can do X, Y, and Z?
Monopolies are not good in any context.
And so figuring out how you can
empower your team, not just delegating,
but in general, figuring out how
can you make it so more people
have the skills that you have.
Tara: So the very important part
of our podcast is the very serious
tidbits and thought things, which
we're going to do rapid fire today.
Um, this is obviously
extremely related to the topic.
Um, you own a farm, what animal or
plant would you raise slash grow?
I just want like an endless supply.
I'm sorry, Brittany.
You can have the stupid avocados.
Brittney: They're just so expensive.
Cassidy: I know.
If I could grow them, I would
just have an endless supply of
Madleina Scheidegger: But the
Cassidy: the thing
Madleina Scheidegger: is
just need the one tree.
Once you have one tree, you're going
to have more than enough avocados.
That, and I could see like
an olive grove as well.
Cause then I could just
have tons of olive oil and
olives at all times.
Tara: Why did I choose goats?
I wish I could change,
but now I bought four,
Phil: Did he,
Tara: because I was like
goat cheese, goat milk.
Brittney: Goat milk.
Tara: they're so
Ben: Videos baby goats,
Phil: mean, baby goats are
Tara: You can do yoga with them.
Yoga with baby goats, you know,
Cassidy: they scream.
Madleina Scheidegger: They're a little
I love it.
They eat anything.
Phil: So we've got goats.
We've got avocados.
I mean, I don't know what else there is
really left to farm in the world that
once we've got those two things, that's,
that's the, that's the main stuff.
I planted my gold seed is
I've watered it every day.
It hasn't, hasn't.
Madleina Scheidegger: Hmm.
Cassidy: We added mining to this question.
Tara: Madleina, did you think of anything
besides gold, goats, and avocados?
Madleina Scheidegger: Um, I'm
torn between berries because
it's berry seasoned right now.
I love berries, raspberries,
There's just no way to go wrong
with any of them, or horses,
which I really enjoy as animals.
going to be maybe to both
of those, but, you know,
Ben: I think I'm going
to go with pineapples.
Phil: didn't say,
Tara: then you'd own a
Phil: It was.
Brittney: like pineapple.
Tara: All right.
So I'll do the outro.
Phil: No, no, no.
What about me?
What about me?
I've got I've I'm
Tara: and then I was done with you.
Phil: No, I was making fun of the gold.
I was, no, I'm not.
I'm not going to answer.
What would you like to
farm um, I would say gold.
I've not, I didn't
genuinely start watering.
Ben: Is it nettles, Phil?
Would you, would you farm nettles?
Phil: It would be peaches.
Tara: I get my peaches
down at Phil's house.
Phil: The perfect peach is
the, is the perfect fruit.
The perfect peach
Phil: is unbeatable,
They're so hard to find
Ben: White peach or regular peach?
Brittney: From Georgia.
I'm from Georgia.
Like you have to go to Georgia to
Madleina Scheidegger: yeah.
Phil: the perfect peach.
Britney, what would you grow or raise?
Cassidy: Or unless she wants to stick with
I didn't know if you wanted
to change your answer.
Tara: They're going to
have a farm together.
Phil: Oh, did we get to go round again?
Oh, I didn't realize we could level up.
Tara: They're working together, teamwork.
We don't know who the manager is going to
be, but we'll find out from this episode.
Thank you so much to our special
guests, Madleina Scheidegger.
Um, and for the rest of this fine panel,
like fine as in like, okay, they're Um,
Cassidy: Not fine like good-looking?
Tara: That's No that's fine Cassie.
Cassidy: Oh, okay.
Tara: And thank you all so much
for joining us, and join us next
time for the Remotely Interesting
episode on something remotely.
Uh, I have been on the panel with
all of these fine people today and my
name is Tara sugar cookie Manicsic.
Ben: And I'm Ben pizza party Hong.
Brittney: And I'm
Brittany Smarties Postma.
Cassidy: I'm Cassidy
movie watching Williams.
Madleina Scheidegger: I'm
Madleina Goldstar Scheidegger.
Phil: And I'm Phil tousle
my hair Hawksworth.
Tara: I know so much about you people.
Thank you everyone.
Phil: Thanks, Madleina.
See you next time.
Madleina Scheidegger: Thank you.
Ben: Should we do our 1, 2, 3 Chris, or
we're just, just for old time's sake?
1, 2, 3.
Cassidy: Oh, gosh,
Brittney: I didn't know that we were
doing it in unison until the end.
And I was like 3??
I think we got it.
He's got to just be so
tired of that by now.
Cassidy: I think he's
tired of us in general..