On coaching and managing

As I started at Datastax in June of the past year, I also swinged back from being an IC engineer to being an engineering manager. This is a common topic to blog about, see for example Adam Comerford and Charity Majors. Or my previous manager David Daly.

At the end of 2020 we used the weekly 1-on-1 with engineers for some lightweight reflection on the past year. I was glad to get good feedback from the engineers. But there was one in particular I felt was worthy of blogging about. A few of the feedbacks can be summarized as: "You are a good engineering manager because you can open source code in an editor and help debug." (Actually, I mostly don't even use an editor, I just point and click on Github. Sorry if this is a disappointment to read...)

At Datastax we don't actually use the word "manager" rather we talk about "coaches".

For Christmas holiday I've been reading the book by and about Markku Kanerva, head coach of the national Finnish Football team. A page in the book summarizes his coaching philosophy, and I wanted to translate it here:

Treat everyone with respect, and demonstrate it with your behavior. This creates a virtuous circle.

Keep an open door policy. And open doors. Both figuratively and literally.

Discussion helps you understand others. Remember to listen.

Delegate. A leader doesn't know everything about everything, so use the strengths of the entire team.

Anticipate what's coming. Prepare for change. Be nimble. React.

An honest and safe atmosphere helps the individual to achieve their full potential.

Humor opens the doors that otherwise might stay closed.

Stress tolerance
Diamonds form under high pressure. So does success.




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