26 Comments

So many gems!!

I loved that part: "At least for me though, I always appreciate when someone comes to me with a question that is very clearly well-researched. When someone does this, I’m way more inclined to help continue their effort."

As you mentioned - it takes a lot of preparation on your side, but is definitely worth it!

And I appreciated this one a lot, as a manager: "Before the conversation, I think about the number of people they’re trying to manage, the different things they might have going on". When people come to me and SEE me, acknowledging my difficulties, it makes me much more inclined to go out of my way to help them.

And thanks for the shoutout! 🙏

P.S. Ron, please come work for us! 😂

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Haha, I know right. We could all use a Ron. It's really great to hear your feedback as a manager, Anton. Thanks for sharing this.

Both of those quotes you called out were definitely insightful to me as its something I know I should get better at

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Assuming good intent is so important.

Even if the other person I'm actuality doesn't have good intents, it could change them as well!

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Exactly! Well said, Tiger

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Sep 24, 2023Liked by Jordan Cutler

Great interview and helpful visuals. Ron’s way of influencing is similar to mine. I also always assume good intent. Without it, it’s hard to make progress in difficult conversations. Ron’s approach to managing up is insightful.

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That's really cool to see the similarities. The way he (and it seems you) put empathy first whenever making suggestions is really insightful for sure, especially since it's easy to have too much of a focus of just wanting our way to get done

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I’ve worked on way too many projects where we did stupid things for good reasons 😂. So I know from experience that it’s safe to assume people usually have good reasons. If not, it’s an opportunity to learn.

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Sep 28, 2023Liked by Jordan Cutler

Im drawn to the Interview format. Any recommendations on other developer content here?

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Hey Scottie, thank you! I appreciate that. Do you mean on Substack?

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Sep 28, 2023Liked by Jordan Cutler

Preferably yes in order to support content creators on ss but any platform really.

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author

Got you. Thanks, Scottie.

Some definitely come to mind, yes.

- Lennys newsletter by: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/

- Dev interrupted: https://devinterrupted.substack.com/

- Pragmatic Engineer: https://newsletter.pragmaticengineer.com/about

- Eng leadership: https://newsletter.eng-leadership.com/

I hope they help :)

Also, thanks for sharing your feedback that you like this format. I will try to keep it in mind and do it more often

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Oct 1, 2023Liked by Jordan Cutler

Great. Much appreciated. 👍

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Thank you, Scottie!

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Influence was the big piece that stood out to me. As senior+/staff engineers we have to think about how what will share will come across to others.

Asking questions with empathy like Ron mentioned is huge.

For me my manager gave me feedback that because I’m one of the most tenured engineers on the team, it’s easy for what I say to come across as “Caleb said to do it like that. Or he shot down my idea.”

I’ve had to work really hard to ask questions with empathy, be open to new ideas and patterns, rather than just always holding to my opinions.

It’s very much a learning journey and I know I’ve sucked at it, but I’m working hard to improve in this “influence with openness and empathy” area.

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Thanks so much for your compliment, Caleb.

You really got me hooked into more of your process too. I'd love an article on how you approach it now and what mistakes you made in the past. I feel like we could all learn from each others experiences on this since its such a nuanced topic

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It's amazing how easy it is to get people to agree with you when you make their life easier. Especially with managers and tech leads, whenever I want an opportunity, instead of asking I solve the problem for them.

A real example for me was: "Hey Mr. Manager, we are having our last intern hired and joining the next month. Let me be his mentor and improve his onboarding plan". There's no way that the manager is going to prefer having to find someone to do the job when he already has a candidate for it

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Wow, this is a fantastic example. Thank you for sharing this, Fran. I may reference this comment in the upcoming post on managing up too!

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Sure, looking forward to read it 👀

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> In just 1 week, we went from 10k subscribers to 13k subscribers

People are really seeing the value 🤯 congrats Jordan, well deserved!

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Thanks man. Really appreciate that. It's happening way faster than I could have imagined 😵‍💫 so happy for it though

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Sep 24, 2023Liked by Jordan Cutler

Your content just keeps on getting better and better. Thanks for taking the time to distill Ron’s insights in such a helpful manner!

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Thank you, Leonardo. Always so appreciate of your feedback 🙏

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This is so refreshing. I couldn't agree more about assuming good intent and maintaining curiosity.

On the topic of upfront research - Yes, it is so important do this. Ron's approach made sense as he is ramping up. Though once past the ramp up period, it is hard to do research in all cases.

In fact, as a Staff you need to navigate through situations where you do not have enough time. So 'maintaining curiosity' is your friend.

One of my recent experiences on this was - We had kicked off transforming our internal cloud at Meta. A huge effort with a bunch of Senior-Staff and Staffs. Naturally, there were many work-streams and new ones kept coming up. More reading material would come up than you could keep up.

My job was to ensure other domains/customer scenarios played right with mine while building the future for my domain. So in essence a fast changing environment.

So when a new un-researched situation came up, the key was to slow down the conversation by asking the right questions. I would clearly articulate what I do not know (this is soo important!) and what I know very succinctly. This gives the room the opportunity to give me the exact information delta that I need. Then I can provide my thoughts, feeling, decision or next steps.

Of course, this assumes I have a solid baseline and can consume new information quickly when I do not have the time to research.

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Thank you for the kind compliment, points, and sharing a story from your experience, Raviraj.

Those are great points you brought up and something I dug deeper where I could during the conversation. It's also something I can relate to a lot since there's so many things you could end up researching but only so much time in a day.

To your point, there's likely a balance to be found between:

- Doing upfront research to become more informed and show the work you did

- Saving the research for a later time (if its not urgent)

- Asking the right questions and being clear about what you don't know if it is pressing (I think this aligns with your situation)

Really appreciate your insights here, Raviraj

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Sep 24, 2023Liked by Jordan Cutler

Loved this.

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Thank you so much, David!

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