manager-readme

What is this?

I’m Jess Dale and this is my Manager README, a document that helps introduce you to my management style, philosophy, and expectations. The intended audience is primarily anyone who reports in to me, though anyone is free to read it - as well as provide feedback on it! Please treat it as a reference and promise on how I will conduct myself as a manager, and what I expect from you.

If I’ve missed something here, or if you feel like there’s a discrepancy in what you’ve read versus what you’ve seen from me, please raise it. This is public with the intent that it will make it easier for you to hold me accountable!

Disclaimer: This document does not apply to anyone else in the company, and solely reflects on my personal management style.

My role

As a Design Manager, it is my job to:

  1. Start with why - providing context and vision
  2. Manage and develop well-functioning design teams
  3. Create safe spaces and provide support for you to develop and growth
  4. Refine or define processes that ensure the success of our team’s work
  5. Hire, train and retain excellent people
  6. Be an advocate for design and build bridges between us and other teams

I’m here to help and support you, to set context for what you’re working on, and to advocate for you and the team with the rest of the company.

If I fail at any of these - especially anything that puts retaining you at risk - you would be doing me a huge favor by letting me know as soon as possible. I don’t expect everyone to stick around forever, however if a departure is potentially due to something we could have done different, I would appreciate the chance to make things right first.

My values and approach

I strongly believe in putting people over process and changing process to accommodate our needs and goals. I’ve worked on the product side, the agency side, and the consultant side and each come with their own sets of challenges. At the end of the day, these are my values as a manager:

My teams come first, the clients second, and the company comes third. Obviously I have a responsibility to the company, but without a well operating, well staffed, and well functioning team, I am unable to live up to those responsibilities. Your success is ultimately my success - so I will go out of my way to try and make you successful.

What I expect from folks who report to me

I am here to evaluate your approach and offer advice or feedback to help you make decisions, not to tell you how to do your job. I am not an authoritarian boss. I do not want to micro manage anyone - it’s not a good use of my time, or yours.

I expect you deliver and commit. Uphold standards. Operate as an indepent and a Directly Responsible Individual.

This does not mean that I expect you to do everything on your own. I will be here to provide you guidance and mentorship (either through me, or by finding the people you should be getting it from). Nor do I expect you to know everything - when you need help, I expect you to not hesitate and ask for it. If you feel you made a mistake, own up to it, we’re all human and mistakes happen.

I am also a strong proponent of setting healthy goals and boundaries for yourself, and I feel it’s my responsibility to model healthy work-life balance. Please ask me more about this!

It’s important to me that you’re investing in yourself and focused on self-improvement. This looks different for all people, but can mean expanding hard skills or soft, going broader or deeper. If you’re a manager, it’s key to work on building a network of peers you can talk with and to keep learning and educating yourself about what leadership means.

What you can expect from me as a manager

I deeply respect time spent together in 1-1’s as I think it’s crucial to get to know you, what you need and how you feel. I regard the time as sacred and will make sure we are meeting consistently. I think it’s best when these meetings have an agenda set by you, so be ready with some topics to discuss or anything that’s on your mind. I prefer they not been about project updates unless you really want to talk about work. This is your time! Please take advantage of it.

Feedback

I am a strong believer of Radical Candor; I want to ensure that you are receiving honest and actionable feedback on a consistent basis. There should never be a scenario where a performance review, or in the worst case scenario, a Performance Improvement Plan, is the first time that you hear negative comments or feedback. I will provide you with feedback and guidance to the best of my ability, and will do my best to ensure that you understand the feedback that I provide to you. I will always ensure that feedback is given in a private setting.

Feedback should go both ways. I am relying on you to let me know when I am doing something detrimental to my position, our relationship, or the company. If at any point you feel you have feedback to provide to me, I will listen and internalize the feedback you give me.

I will also send an anonymous feedback form on occassion to allow anyone to provide feedback they do not feel comfortable telling me in person.

I will provide feedback on how you’re doing during our 1-on-1s. If there’s something I’m worried about, I will let you know. If you worry that I may be worried about your performance, please let me know. Let’s talk about it. It’s tough to resolve any issues or concerns if we’re not having open conversation.

Communication

In general, please over-communicate with me. Don’t worry about sending me too many messages or overwhelming me, it’s really valuable.

Meetings and schedule

While I have a preference to meeting for 30 minutes every week, the length, frequency, and medium are up to you. To start, I will book us time to meet for 1 hour once a week. This of course is not the only time you can reach me - if there is ever something on your mind, please reach out. If I am busy, I will find time for you.

My personality and quirks

Fun facts!

Areas I am working on improving:

Download my resume

#### This README was inspired by other manager READMEs including: Matt Newkirk and Katie Lo