My Manager README

I recently (June 2018) became aware of something called a Manager README. The idea is for anyone who leads people to write a simple summary of things a new direct report will find helpful for understanding how to have a productive relationship with you. This document is a first attempt at one that describes how I approach my job. I’m sure I will refine the language over time as my understanding of what makes a great manager evolves.


I’m excited to work with you! We hired you because we saw in you a person with skills that will help us, but as importantly someone who will make us all better as a team.

My job is to help you and our team maximize the impact we have on the organization and our product.

I do that through the following activities:

The 30,000ʹ view

You can think of me as your API to the rest of the organization. Need a contact on some distantly-related team? Not sure who to talk to about changing your dental plan? I’ll either know or will find out who the right person is and connect you to them.

Growth mindset

More important to me than what you know now is that you are open to learning. I believe everyone is capable of improving, both as technicians and human beings. I ask that you open yourself to the possibility of getting better at what you do and who you are. Life is a journey. Let’s grow together!


I will never intentionally ask you to do anything unethical or illegal. If you are concerned that something I or the organization have asked of you falls in either of these categories, please raise the issue with me immediately.


It might sound cheesy, but believe me when I say: Together Everyone Achieves More.

On my team, I recognize and reward actions that build others up. These include (but are not limited to!) behaviors such as teaching, mentoring, and listening. I do not tolerate members of my team belittling, harassing, or insulting each other. If you are ever on the receiving end of something that feels like you’re being torn down, talk to me immediately.

In the wise words of Kate Heddleston, founder of Opsolutely,

A 10x engineer isn’t someone who is 10x better than those around them, but someone who makes those around them 10x better.

To that end, I ask that you allow me to help you be a better teammate.


In general, I endeavor to keep meetings focused and relevant to the work at-hand. You’re a maker, so you benefit from blocks of uninterrupted time. Whenever possible, I will try to group meetings together so you can find those blocks.

1 to 1s

We will likely talk most days, but I believe there is value in having a regularly scheduled time when you know you have my full attention.

So, please schedule a recurring 1 to 1 meeting with me of at least 30 minutes weekly, but longer and/or more often if that’s what you want/need.

The agenda for this meeting is yours to set. We can talk project status in these meetings if you want or you might find this time is more useful to you when we talk about your long term goals and priorities. Here are some examples of things we can talk about.

My schedule

You might make a face like Edvard Munch’s The Scream when you look at my calendar. Don’t let that dissuade you from “bothering” me. I’m a manager. I am interruptible. Also, unless I tell you otherwise, it’s OK to reschedule any meeting between the 2 of us to a time more convenient for you.

My values

These are mine. Help me understand yours!


I believe in giving feedback early and often. This may feel scary at first, but know that my intention is always to help you be more effective in your role.

Corollary: I want your feedback! If you think I’ve messed up, please tell me. If you think I did a great job, please tell my boss. 😉

I will strive to make my feedback to you specific, dispassionate, and actionable (listen for “My request of you is…”). I ask that you try to take the same approach with me, but if you can’t muster all 3 of those attributes, let’s still talk!

Work/life ______

Work/life balance or work/life integration, it’s your choice. I am more concerned about the impact you make than when you make it. That said, you are working on a team, so I ask that you keep your collaborators informed of your availability and that you try to maintain at least a couple of hours per day of overlap with your teammates’ schedules for synchronous communication.

Speaking of communication…

We’re all on slightly different schedules. If you receive Slack messages or emails from me outside your customary work hours, you should feel free to respond when next you’re working. There may be times when I need an immediate response. If that is the case, the onus is on me to make that clear.

Social media

I can be found on social media here and here and my personal website is here.

You are free to follow/friend me.

Please feel precisely, exactly ZERO pressure to follow/friend me on any platform outside of work (i.e. we need to be connected on Slack and GitHub, but it’s up to you whether we connect on Twitter and LinkedIn).

I will not follow/friend you unless you explicitly tell me it’s OK with you.

About me

I’m only human. I have pet peeves, quirks, and things I’m working to improve, as I’m sure you do. In the spirit of transparency, the following are some of the ones I’m aware of (everyone has blind spots!) that seem relevant to our working relationship (i.e. people not using their turn signals is probably not a relevant pet peeve in this context):

Also, I’m human! I have interests outside of work. Those include playing banjolele, traveling to places near and far, photography, camping with my family in the Eastern Oregon desert, and playing disc golf and table tennis. I’ve also recently taken up building crude furniture for my backyard. So fun!


These are mine. What are yours?

Thanks for reading! I’d love to know what you think. Hit me up on Twitter or drop me a line. / My Manager README

Last updated: June 19, 2018


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