Dear Leadership Diary

Reading Time: 18 minutes | January 10, 2020

Dear Management & Leadership Diary,

Wow. We have come across some of the best and some of the worst management practices over the course of the 2018 year! Whether that be at the regular 9-5 job or at extra-curricular activities, we need to constantly learn to adapt to our environment.

These real life instances show us how we can lead (and/or follow) with integrity, respect, and kindness.

This ongoing list is meant to be a constant reminder to ourselves. We hope that, maybe, you’ll find it interesting too.

December 2018

At the end of the year, do some reflecting. Give myself a pat on the back and show a little bit of love to myself. Remind myself that I’m a bada$$. Yes, I am & so are you – friends who are reading this.


December 2018

Ben, from MakerPad, sent an email with tips on product which I resonated with. Here are the best ones to remember:

  • Thinking about doing something? Just start.

  • Build something quick, and then launch it as if this was a full fledged product with 10 employees already working on it. This way you can validate it before spending more time on it.

  • Find my tribe of people who want to build. For example, MakerPad.

  • We all have weaknesses:
    1. Get strong where you are weak. Study, read, take courses etc.
    2. Get help from others who are strong where you are weak.

  • Experiment. A lot. Things will fail, and it’s okay to let it go.

  • Set and enforce an hourly rate which I aspire to. If something isn’t up to par with that hourly rate, don’t do it! Pay someone else to do it.


November 2018

Just another reminder that mornings are a beautiful way to get started with the day. Catapult out of bed at 5:30AM gives a great head start. 5-4-3-2-1, let’s go!


November 2018

When discussing a project such as a “holiday social”, do not arbitrarily assign it to someone by dictating they own it without their consent. Especially when they have expressed the fact they are not interested in being the lead on it.

Instead, approach in a way that will encourage someone to pick up this volunteer task by saying: “Hey X, you are the most organized person in this office and I really think you would host a great holiday social. Do you have any bandwidth to assist in this? You can let me know what type of help you need and I can arrange accordingly for you.”


November 2018

Constantly look ways to grow, to learn, and to smile. If it costs a little bit of money, it’s ok. Evaluate with a clear mind and just do it! Don’t hold back because when I am too old with no time left on Earth, boy will I regret it!

Time is precious. Don’t forget the family!


November 2018

Publically shaming someone gets me nowhere. Team should feel ownership to each other. Negative motivators are not healthy.


November 2018

Travel. Live life while travelling the world because there is so much to explore. Where do I want to go? Somewhere once a year, at least!


November 2018

When I see someone struggling or facing an array of impediments, tap them on the shoulder. Ask: “What can I do to help? I am with you 100%. Just tell me what you want me to do.” It doesn’t need to be on a scrum team that we whip out the Scrum Master powers.


October 2018

I don’t always have to be the smartest person in the room. In fact, I should never be the smartest person in the room.


October 2018

Respect everyone despite their rank, seniority, or background. I don’t know their story and I might miss out on a real gem.


October 2018

When I am not feeling so optimal, go back to the Happy Scale. Measure across a week, a month, two months, and so on. Stop whenever I feel like I have a good grasp on things.


September 2018

When someone else is arguing their point of view, allow them to get their point across without interruption. Do not interject with: “yeah yeah…no one cares.” This sets an extremely bad precedence if I said that phrase to my employee when other team members are at the table too.


September 2018

When a new employee joins, treat them like they are golden. First 100 days prove to be integral for the long term success of the employee.


August 2018

When something is impossible to be completed or when I am in a bind to do something, ask the other party “how am I supposed to do that?”


August 2018

Energy is limited. We don’t have the time to give it to everyone every single day. Think of how many energy points I have left and am I able to distribute to others while leaving enough for self.


August 2018

Some relationships are worth keeping. Some are not. It’s OK to let go of what once were best friends.


July 2018

When speaking about the significant other to others, use partner or S.O or loved one. This allows others to open up and share their life.


July 2018

Appreciate my #1 fan. Say “thank you” in little moments that are so insignificant that they’ll feel silly I have even said it. Those are the ones that count. Trust!


July 2018

Sincerely ask others “how are you doing?” with the intention of actually knowing more. “Really, how ARE you?”


July 2018

Gossip and drama is not a great addition to a healthy life. Cut it out. Remove self from negativity surrounding the “juicy” office gossip. Not important.


June 2018

Pick teams and leaders, not the job title.

Always ask myself, what will I do in that position that makes me worthy of it? If I am not giving my 110%, I’m sure there are many others are willing to.


June 2018

Treat others how I want to be treated.

Treat others how they want to be treated.


June 2018

Follow up on coffee chats or meetings with folks. Say thanks!

If I’m the one offering to go on a coffee chat with someone, I should always offer to pay. If the other party insists, then that’s OK.


May 2018

Be available for others. Open the door, open the phone, open the ears, and open the eyes. Sometimes what is unsaid is the loudest indicator something isn’t “fine”.


May 2018

If I book a one-on-one meeting with someone, especially a direct report, I must make the effort to prepare for it! Go in with feedback, goals, discussion points, and etc. A touch of life outside-of-work wouldn’t hurt either.


May 2018

When someone tells me their name, try with every effort to pronounce it correctly. Especially when someone says: “don’t worry about it, it’s hard to pronounce and everyone gets it wrong.” This is a trigger that I need to be even more adamant that I get it right.

*** When in HR, it’s paramount to respect someone else’s name. ***


May 2018

When approaching someone who is an acquaintance, assess their composure. Maybe they don’t want a hug from me. There is also no need for either party to shower each other with compliments as it seems insincere.


April 2018

When someone is speaking to me, remember to control yawns and glances at my watch. If I have to yawn, cover my mouth and apologize. If I’m that bored, then the meeting should be cut short.


April 2018

If a meeting has begun for a one-on-one session, respect it. Please do not get distracted by someone else entering my office/space asking if I’m busy (and it’s not an urgent/important task which needs my attention).

If they ask, I should respond with: “yes, I’m with someone and I’ll come see you after.” Please do not make the person I’m having the one-on-one with listen to the entire conversation with the person who interrupted us.


March 2018

During one-on-ones, please do not get distracted by my phone. Respect the other person’s time and give them my full attention. It is extremely disrespectful to be checking my phone (or desktop email) every time it beeps while the other party is speaking. Plus multi-tasking is not optimal.


March 2018

Everyone’s time is precious. Do not think that just because a new grad comes to see me that I should declare their time not as valuable as mine because I’m a few levels more senior than them. If I’ll be late, apologize and ask the person to please give me X minutes.

*** Especially true if this is the first meeting for a mentor-mentee introduction session. ***


February 2018

Some team members’ native tongue isn’t English. Do not respond with: ““What don’t you understand? We just went through it.” Reminder, that maybe my explanation was completely sh*t! Instead, approach with an question of: “which part would you like me to clarify?”


February 2018

If a scope expansion request comes in from others on project which was already given to Direct Report X, please do not respond with: “yes, Direct Report X can take a look at it.” Allow Direct Report X to speak for themselves, unless a private discussion was held between myself and Direct Report X. Otherwise, it completely undermines Direct Report X’s authority or ability to prioritize tasks.


February 2018

If an employee owns a project, let them own it. Do not host meetings without them there – unless it’s an emergency. Employee should also be notified. Stakeholder management…


February 2018

If an employee owns a project, let them own it. Do not interrupt by attending all the meetings, send emails on their behalf, or solve all the issues before they had a time to attempt it. Trust who I’ve hired.


February 2018

Certain words trigger the fact someone is annoyed but many use it as often as the filler word ‘uhm’ or ‘like’. e.g. “I JUST showed you that” or “AGAIN, this is how you do it…”. Sometimes, others need a repeat of what I said, and that should be completely OK.


January 2018

When I am running a report and users of my report request for an easier view so that they can actually understand it, make sure I take the request to heart and at least attempt to change. Do not brush them off. At the end of the day, they are the users! Without them, I’d be wasting all of my time putting together this report.


January 2018

New grads who are eager to learn are smarter than we give them credit for. Remember that they love challenges just like I love challenges. Do not disperse mundane work to them that is a mere copy and paste job.


January 2018

Gossiping to direct report A about direct report X is extremely awkward and likely violates some HR policies. Do not say/ask: “…X is going to be a lot of work…what would you rate them…?” That puts direct report A in difficult position.

Direct Report A could answer: “I’m uncomfortable answering that.”


January 2018

If direct reports or colleagues have a language barrier and took what I said at face value (i.e. does exactly what I said, even though I meant it as a metaphor or example), remember to stay patient. Mistakes happen so clarify. Do not use: “…if I told you to jump out a window, would you just do it…?”


January 2018

If a direct report is excited about Project #2 even though Project #1 isn’t quite finished, give a high level picture of what Project #2 looks like. A little bit of foresight into the bigger picture does not hurt. Especially when they are curious about it. Do not tell them “…you aren’t even familiar with Project #1, why are you worried about Project #2?”


January 2018

If a new employee starts a job and wants to learn something new (e.g. SQL) in a data analyst job on their own time, encourage the curiosity to learn! Do not tell them “…that won’t help you on the job.” Extremely unnecessary.


January 2018

Even if I’ve been in industry for 10-20 years and a new intern just started, remember that I was where they were not too long ago. Do not make their solution attempt (s) sound effortless and dumb.


January 2018

If a colleague or direct report sends an email to others which I feel might not have been the most appropriate, take them aside and provide some explanations on why there may have been a better approach. Do not make them feel like they are incapable of making decisions on how to send an email, or what to write in it.