Tips for Success as an Engineering Manager, José R. Arzuaga — Staff Engineering Manager, GitHub

Published on Jan 1, 1970

28 min read

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In this video, José R. Arzuaga — Staff Engineering Manager, GitHub, covers important tips for success as an engineering leader. We discuss the importance of advice for managers starting out, time management, diversity, hiring, uncomfortable feedback, how you would find a good mentor, book recommendations, and how to create an effective team. This video is a must-watch if you’re thinking about becoming an engineering manager or are already in a leadership role. By following these tips, you’ll be able to lead your team to success and achieve your goals! Table of Contents Toggle * [Resources](#Resources "Resources") * [Transcript](#Transcript "Transcript") * [What is your background, and how you got into leadership?](#What_is_your_background_and_how_you_got_into_leadership "What is your background, and how you got into leadership? ") * [What would be your advice for managers who are just starting out?](#What_would_be_your_advice_for_managers_who_are_just_starting_out "What would be your advice for managers who are just starting out?") * [What are some lessons you’ve learned in your engineering leadership career?](#What_are_some_lessons_you%E2%80%99ve_learned_in_your_engineering_leadership_career "What are some lessons you’ve learned in your engineering leadership career?") * [How would you go about finding a good mentor?](#How_would_you_go_about_finding_a_good_mentor "How would you go about finding a good mentor? ") * [What is your workday like, and how do you manage everything you have to do, emails, Slack, all those things as an engineering manager?](#What_is_your_workday_like_and_how_do_you_manage_everything_you_have_to_do_emails_Slack_all_those_things_as_an_engineering_manager "What is your workday like, and how do you manage everything you have to do, emails, Slack, all those things as an engineering manager?") * [Using Notion…](#Using_Notion%E2%80%A6 "Using Notion…") * [If you could recommend one book to managers, what would it be and why?](#If_you_could_recommend_one_book_to_managers_what_would_it_be_and_why "If you could recommend one book to managers, what would it be and why?") * [Giving uncomfortable feedback](#Giving_uncomfortable_feedback "Giving uncomfortable feedback") * [Where could people go if they wanted to connect with you or learn more about you afterward?](#Where_could_people_go_if_they_wanted_to_connect_with_you_or_learn_more_about_you_afterward "Where could people go if they wanted to connect with you or learn more about you afterward?") Resources --------- * ⭐️ [\]( * ⭐️ [\]( * ⭐️ The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change, [\]( * ⭐️ Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, [\]( * Daily reflection [\]( Transcript ---------- **Vidal:** \[00:00:00\] Good morning today. I have with me, Jose Arzuaga, he’s an engineering manager at GitHub. Jose, welcome to ManagersClub. **Jose:** Thank you. Thanks for having me here. I’m super excited to talk to you today. What is your background, and how you got into leadership? --------------------------------------------------------- **Vidal:** Great. I’m super excited to have you here as well. Jose, before we start off, could you share about your background and how you got into engineering leadership? What would be your advice for managers who are just starting out? ----------------------------------------------------------------- **Jose:** Yeah, absolutely. So I’m gonna go a little bit back in time to when I was a school-age kid, my mom’s a nurse and early on, I \[00:00:30\] learned from my mom about the power of helping others and her attitude towards that kinda like planted a seed in me. I started helping everyone I could from a very early age and for example, all through high school and college, I spent a lot of time as a tutor mentor for younger students and volunteering for different community organizations. **Jose:** Like there was one that I was very fond of in school, like Future Scientists and Engineers of America. I was going to High schools and spending like a couple of hours per week with high school students doing like science \[00:01:00\] experiments and solving math problems. And then you have a convention of sorts where all the schools from the region would get together and go through a challenge and whatnot. **Jose:** And that was like super fulfilling for me back then. So yeah, in my teens, I was already kinda exposed to a lot of the elements that are like very similar to being a leader. So all of that seemed very familiar to me when I joined the workforce after college. **Jose:** Fast forward a couple of years, into my professional career. And I started noticing a trend where I spent a good chunk of my time doing coaching and mentorship of other \[00:01:30\] engineers. And then towards the end of the day I would, chaulk up some time to work on my own stuff. **Jose:** So this trend continue on and I believe it really contributed to me progressing through the different engineering levels at all the organizations that I work for eventually there came a time when I was working on a large platforming project for innovation. And my manager comes to me and he says, “Hey, like this project, it’s gonna be the future of what web development here at this company. And I wanna build a new team around it with you as a manager.” **Jose:** And I wasn’t quite sure what to think \[00:02:00\] immediately when he said that. And I think he knew cuz he followed that by saying, huh? You look worried. Don’t be like, in my mind this is a transition to. **Jose:** Just doing more of what you’ve already been doing, which seemed to suit you. So I took the job I was first managing two other engineers and started like helping the team, do that migration. And then that platforming eventually growing the team to 40 plus engineers less than a year and yeah. It’s it was a huge thing. It’s like a big \[00:02:30\] responsibility and also like in a compressed timeframe. So I definitely learned a lot and that was almost six years ago. And though there have been many challenges along the way. I really have no regrets, like with the transitioning into engineering leadership role. What are some lessons you’ve learned in your engineering leadership career? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Vidal:** Awesome. Yeah, we’ll get to those challenges. That’s really amazing though. Like your first engineering manager job, you managed 40 engineers. That’s a lot. Yeah. And alright let’s get into that. What are the biggest challenges you face or have faced as an engineering leader? \[00:03:00\] **Jose:** So there’s quite a few. **Jose:** I think that, yeah, like prioritizing what to work on is always a good challenge. So I’ll use what I learned there to prioritize challenges here. I’d say being an introvert. Like for me it’s been very challenging. Building relationships like being an engineering manager’s a lot of like relationship building that you have to do to be able to work across, a company and, Be able to accomplish like company goals and objectives and just, your team as a platform for that. **Jose:** And quite frankly, like \[00:03:30\] even today even though I have worked on this a lot it’s just hard like it’s starting cold at a new company, not knowing everyone and just being like, “Hey, my name is Jose. I’m the manager of this team. And, I just wanna meet you and get to know about you.” **Jose:** It’s just challenging. I think that there’s other things have got fueled for fire in a way make it even harder. Like me being an immigrant and an English as a second language speaker. I think that there’s like some LA, language and cultural barriers that you just have to navigate and learn, how to get around so that \[00:04:00\] you can be effective in your communication. **Jose:** So I think that’s been really challenging for me. And like I said, I’ve worked a lot on it. Still to this day, it’s something that, like I have to be very mindful and intentional about how I communicate with people to, get my message across and also be effective. **Vidal:** These are all really great challenges, right? You actually, a lot of challenges, you have, you introverted, a lot of engineers are introverted engineering leaders are introverted. You have English as a second language. Wasn’t your first language. You’ve switched companies. **Vidal:** Do you \[00:04:30\] have some advice perhaps what’s worked for you or didn’t work for you in some of those situations that you could share? With people in that situation. **Jose:** Yeah. I think that in terms of being an introvert, I think that there was a point in my career where I thought that was just like something negative and something that I had to squash or you get from so that I could progress and get better. **Jose:** I think that the moment when I realized that, you know, Hey, that’s not really a \[00:05:00\] drawback, this is actually something very powerful. And you can just understand better what it means to be an introvert and what are your triggers? **Jose:** And how do you find joy? How do you energize yourself? What are those things that fuel your tank and what are the things that drain you? And then you can come up with strategies and how am I gonna manage my time? How am I gonna interact with people so that I don’t end up like completely drained at the end of the day and I can be effective. **Jose:** And then all of the other things that are like really positive things of about \[00:05:30\] how do I move those to, to my advantage, right? Like I think that there’s this TED talk it’s called like the power of introverts. And I think that I drew a lot of inspiration from that, so that. **Jose:** I had like a model of how am I gonna turn this around? How am I gonna make it so that I don’t keep feeling like I’m not enough. But I’m just like a different person. And I can turn this around and. I don’t wanna say exploit, but \[00:06:00\] leveraged the, my like the advantages of that. **Vidal:** I think that’s great. I have to watch that Ted talk, cuz I think that there are certain advantages of being an introvert and well, a lot of engineers are introverts, so we have that in common with them. Could you share a lesson you’ve learned as an engineering leader? **Jose:** Absolutely. That’s like a great question. **Jose:** My wife always says flexibility is the key to happiness. And this is one of those phrases that kind of make sense when you hear it, but it’s \[00:06:30\] so much more powerful when you actually see it in practice it goes to the very core, I think of like growth, my growth mindset. And when you look at the global scale in which we work nowadays, where we’re exposed to people and situations from all over the world, I think it’s impossible to be truly successful. **Jose:** Operating with a fixed mindset. I think the cultural and family context in which I grew up predicated on deferring to authority, deferring to your elders and then, and also, and they’re always being like a right way for doing anything. And unfortunately I \[00:07:00\] brought some of that to, to my role as an engineer and I’ll admit it kept me from growing and learning as much as I could have back. **Jose:** It’s like a defense mechanism that ends up hurting you in the long run. Going back to a lesson that I learned as an engineering leader, I’d say I learned to be more flexible. I was confronted with the responsibility of serving dozens of engineers at a time to help them learn, grow and be the very best they could be. **Jose:** And, who were like all different people from different backgrounds different personalities, \[00:07:30\] so on and so forth. So this really made me realize the importance of, assuming a growth mindset at all times. So I’d say that’s why lesson, stay flexible, staying involved, have a growth mindset, and, be curious. **Vidal:** I think that’s great. And what you pointed out, like yes, people come from different backgrounds. So if, like from your background, you. Like respect authorities. I think don’t challenge authority. And so you have to unlearn some of those things because that’s not, what’s expected in your role. **Vidal:** You’re actually expected in this culture to like challenge authority and speak up as an engineering \[00:08:00\] leader. Absolutely. Could you speak about hiring? What is your approach to hiring and perhaps diversity in hiring and recruiting? **Jose:** Yeah, absolutely. I think that diversity in hiring and recruiting it’s so important. **Jose:** I think that the having many perspectives to, to draw from and building something. With all those perspectives taken into account, it’s much more powerful that \[00:08:30\] just like doing the same thing, in the same way that has been done, like essentially forever. So diversity is something that’s, top of mind, whenever I I set up to, to start, sourcing for candidates and hiring I think. **Jose:** It’s not it’s diversity, but not diversity for the sake of diversity. I think that, we also have to ground that in the needs of the team that you’re managing. So I think when I look at my team, I ask I ask myself the question, what do we \[00:09:00\] need right now? How do, how could we make this team even better than it is right now? **Jose:** And more often than not diversity is part of the solution. I think that unfortunately, tech it’s a space where there isn’t a ton of diversity yet. I think that there’s been we’re making strikes and it’s **Vidal:** very bad in tech actually. Very bad. Wonder if you could say do you have any like tactics, you have any tactical things you do because yeah diversity is important, but how do you achieve **Jose:** it? Yeah, I think that you need to be \[00:09:30\] intentional, right? I think it’s, some people think it’s like even taboo to talk to your like recruiting partner and say Hey, I need diverse candidates. And I talk to other engineering managers about this subject. **Jose:** The main thing that I’m getting from them is I’m afraid that if I go to a recruiter and I tell them I need a diverse candidate, I’m gonna look like, in a bad way. Really they think they’re gonna look bad. Yeah, absolutely. It’s cuz there’s this it’s dunno. **Jose:** Wanna call it a belief. But like some people believe that It’s \[00:10:00\] it might even be a little bit like even racist to say, I need candidates that that fit like this profile, it’s like a reverse targeting **Vidal:** Reverse **Jose:** discrimination. Yeah. **Jose:** And I don’t know if that’s a real thing. I don’t know if that’s I can’t speak to the merits of that, but I do know that do know that there’s people who are afraid that, they feel that if they set out to just hire diverse candidates, that they’re like that, that there’s a problem with that. **Jose:** So I think that the first thing is, recognizing that it’s okay to want to hire for diversity. I think that I don’t really see the problem with \[00:10:30\] them. I think that, the problem, I **Vidal:** see, sorry if I could interrupt the problem. I see. No, absolutely. Is engineering managers sometimes don’t wanna do it because it takes longer. **Vidal:** And you need to fill the role quickly. So that slows you **Jose:** down. Yeah, absolutely. That actually goes to my second point cuz it does take longer. And I think that my second point was gonna be about patients, right? It’s the first thing that I did I sat down with my recruiting partner and we were like doing like the intake interview to find out what the role is, what the skills are needed and whatnot. **Jose:** And I told them like \[00:11:00\] really plainly and frankly, I need a diverse candidate. I cannot keep hiring the same person, all over again. And they were like very open to that. They were like, oh, absolutely, yes we can totally help you with that. And it does take longer. And you’ll, you have to do a little bit more work, depending on like the company that you’re on and how much support you have from your recruiting partners. **Jose:** But oftentimes you end up doing a little bit more work because the, you have to like search like everywhere and scour the internet, and. Job \[00:11:30\] boards and, like everywhere that you can find candidates to like to find them but they are out there. They’re like even communities expressly for certain groups where they meet and they advertise jobs **Jose:** and I think that you just need to take the time and find it like, there’s this there’s a community called Tequeria. Uh, Yes, they’re link. They’re LinkedIn, they’re there everywhere. And they have a slack work workspace where, you can go and it’s mostly Latinx people, but there’s like people of every walk of life and.\[00:12:00\] **Jose:** I think that if you’re able to find these communities and like just, show up and let them know, Hey this is what I’m looking for. You’ll have more chances of success. So I think you just need to maybe refrain a little bit, what you think the role of an engineering manager is as it pertains to hiring and. **Jose:** When you do that reframing and stop thinking about, oh, so I’m just here to look at resumes and conduct interviews and you make a conscious decision to get involved in the process and, find like these spots where you can find your, the candidates that you’re \[00:12:30\] looking for. I think that you’ll have like better chances of success. **Jose:** So to recap, I’d say. I acknowledge what your team needs and what you want. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need and what you want to, to your recruiting partners and, for all your sleeves to try and find these candidates, cuz it, it does take longer. But they’re out there and they’re like fantastic people willing and able to do the job that you want them to do. **Vidal:** I think that’s great. And sometimes you really, have to look at what really do you need, because I think sometimes we can get distracted by other job requirements that maybe \[00:13:00\] aren’t as **Jose:** essential. Yeah. I think I, have a follow up to that. I think that there’s also. **Jose:** Something to say about keeping your biases in check. Yeah. And then sometimes you craft this job description and you have an idea of this is the person that I’m gonna hire. I’m gonna like. Talk like this, feel like this sound like this. And I think that if you’re trying and keep your biases in check, start like recognizing them and see when they are getting in the way and doing something \[00:13:30\] about that. **Jose:** I think that you’re also, can unlock many possibilities. **Vidal:** I think that’s a great point. What is your advice for managers who are just starting out? **Jose:** That’s an excellent question. I think that’s probably like one of the top search terms in Google’s “I’m a new manager help.” **Jose:** I’d say, as a new manager, you’re starting out you probably have many questions about, how to do the job or even what’s the job supposed to be right. And I think that’s quite normal. Even like one of the failures from the system that we’re working is that many people are dropping to a \[00:14:00\] position of management or leadership with little to no guidance, on how to do the job or even what the job is. **Jose:** And I think that just being able to recognize that is, a very first school step then after that my advices, final. Like someone you trust who can serve as a guide while you take your first few steps as a leader even someone who can, you can ask questions to, like you can do a co review of your decisions or perhaps, just listen to you See how you’re doing and you can go over your day and get a different take from someone that’s more experienced. **Jose:** I really wish I’d done that. When I \[00:14:30\] first started as an engineering leader and having done it, later on, I can tell you just how impactful that has been for me, both professionally and per person. How would you go about finding a good mentor? --------------------------------------------- **Vidal:** Yeah, and I think mentors are great. Do you have any advice for people? Like how would they go about finding a good mentor? **Vidal:** It’s not so obvious for some people. **Jose:** So that’s a great question too. I think that there’s many I don’t wanna say many, but there’s some places in on the internet that you can go for mentorship. There’s like Plato, there’s mentor match. So I think that \[00:15:00\] those are like good resources, I think just like going to, like to Google and doing a search for engineering, coach or engineering mentor like there’s some communities that exist and some of them are paid. **Jose:** Some of them are free. So I think that. You can find some resources. I think that you can also look internally in your companies to give you an example, a GitHub there didn’t used to be a mentorship program, and someone, Had that need, was like, oh I need a mentor, but there’s no, no mentors here. **Jose:** And they just organized themselves and created a \[00:15:30\] mentorship program. And it’s been running now for, I’d say maybe close to two years. And it’s a fantastic resource for people here in the company. It’s you can have a, you can be an IC, you can be a manager. You can be like in, in any of the disciplines and find someone that you can talk to on a regular basis and get mentorship from. **Jose:** So I think that, go look on the internet or talk internally in your company. If there’s, if there are no resources in your company, then maybe you can be the change that your company needs and, start that for all your peers. What is your workday like, and how do you manage everything you have to do, emails, Slack, all those things as an engineering manager? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Vidal:** \[00:16:00\] What is your workday like and how do you manage, everything you have to do, emails, Slack, all those things as an engineering manager? **Jose:** My Workday is chaos. No, I’m kidding. It’s interesting cuz I just moved from the west coast to the east coast. Before I have two kids like me and my wife do like the morning dance of getting them ready to school and then doing drop offs and whatnot. **Jose:** Because I was in the west coast and I had I’m working with people all over the United States and also in, in Europe, I was usually the, like the last person to show up to the \[00:16:30\] party. So my day would start with like mini meeting meetings. And then at the end of the day I had a little bit of time to catch up, on emails, slack messages, do a little bit like, oh, basic work. **Jose:** Now that I’m on the east coast it’s the opposite. So we do like the morning dance, drop off the kids and then I get here. Most people are still like, either at the end of the days of their day, if they’re in year or starting their day if they’re like in mountain time or like specific time. **Jose:** So that means that I have some time in the morning, like up to like noon \[00:17:00\] to just do a little bit of work and, in reflection. So I start my day by reviewing the following day. Let me back out. So I’ll talk about how I end my day and then I’ll start from there. **Jose:** I end my day by, by doing a reflection of how the, that day went yeah. I have a template, with different questions that I answer that help me take a step back from the day and for the hustle of everything that’s going on and just reflect on, how are things going? **Jose:** How did I react to different things that happened during the day? What did I actually. \[00:17:30\] And, how can I be better? And who from my team, need help. And when so I start my date then reviewing that reflect. And that kind of gives me an idea of the different things that I need to pay attention. **Jose:** There’s always longstanding things that are happening and also meetings that, that are in my calendar about like those first 30 minutes of my day it’s like my. Like my north star for, how my day is gonna go. After that I take a couple of hours to do a little bit of async work. **Jose:** So we, we were remote and in a synchronous. So a lot of, the \[00:18:00\] work that I do is gonna be like reading through like absolutely everything that I can find. And then, doing some writing too. So I, I devote, good two, three hours per day to that. And then I start meeting with people and engaging in, different conver conversations in slack. **Jose:** And, that’s essentially, throughout the day, throughout the end by day, **Vidal:** I guess that’s good. Yeah. When you can offset your day a little bit gives you some space, you actually have a template that you fill out every day, like a form. **Jose:** I do. Yeah, absolutely. I can share that with you if you wanna put it in the episode \[00:18:30\] notes. **Vidal:** Yeah. I’d love to see like what questions you have on the template. That’s really interesting. What’s a personal habit that’s contributed to your success. **Jose:** That’s a question too. Personal habit. That’s a hard question actually. I’ll take a minute to think **Vidal:** about this. **Vidal:** Okay. Take your time. **Jose:** I’d say. We just talked about it. Actually. I think that, that time that I take for reflection every day, I think that’s been very powerful. When I wrap my day with those like 30 minutes of reflection, and, go over my day, all the conversations that I had. **Jose:** I’m \[00:19:00\] able to spot themes and takeaways and action items for the next day and beyond. I think that helps me with perspective. Like I think that being far removed from all the days’ work and conversations that allows me to think more clearly about the things that happen, how we reacted to them and how I can improve. **Jose:** I think that. When I started doing that I started like seeing change and improvement in the way that I was operating. It also helped me with I felt less stressed cuz I was able to do a brain dump of all these things that, that I had \[00:19:30\] in my head. And I was thinking about him and being able, like to put them in writing helped me like settle and transition into, Out of work and into family time. **Jose:** I think that’s that’s been really impactful in my **Vidal:** career. That sounds really awesome. Yes. I really wanna look at this temp. I think it’s a great suggestion. Jose, is there a tool? We talked previously about like Notion, but is there a tool that you use that really helps you in your work? **Jose:** I’d say no Notion. Definitely. I think that I. I have my notion set up \[00:20:00\] customized. It looks like a scrum board where I can create cards. And I have like different levels of urgency and priority and whatnot. And by just like taking a look at that, I’m able to get a glimpse of this is all the work that I have schedule and. **Jose:** This is, what’s most important. I use that in combination with my calendar. I try and not keep to-do list like, and that they just give me anxiety. So I see a never ending to the list and I just keep chipping at it and it never end. **Jose:** So I try and like, whenever I have a to-do that I \[00:20:30\] cannot do right away, I just put it in my calendar and it’s gone. And then when the time comes, then I’ll deal with that. And that’s been really helpful. But in terms of a resource or tool, I’d say like notion lately I’ve been experimenting. Using Notion… ------------- **Vidal:** Could say a little bit more about Notion. So I use notion and I’ve tried it on again off again. **Vidal:** To, to your point, it can be a little daunting and complicated. And do you have any advice on it or how to use this successfully? **Jose:** Yeah. So I think I read or watch like a zillion videos of like how to \[00:21:00\] configure notion and and I hear you, I think that it’s so powerful and so customizable that it’s also daunting. **Jose:** I was coming off of using Evernote which I really liked. And I was also using kinda like a Asana for keeping my personal work. **Jose:** So I, I use like a whole bunch of like different teams, things like a Asana, Trello. And when I started like working with Notion, I think that I came with with the mindset of trying to replicate like the previous setup that I had. And I think that’s what made it \[00:21:30\] complicated. So I changed mindset and I was like, huh let me see, what is that? **Jose:** I’m that I need right now. And I’m gonna try and do this without trying to replicate anything and see how it comes up. And. after that, like it was working on, I was like, all so what’s the next thing that I need. And I started like little by little, like changing my workflows and adding, like databases in, in notion, like for the different things that I do and whatnot. **Jose:** And it turned into like the thing that I have now that I really so I think the advice would be, I take it slow. Don’t try \[00:22:00\] to necessarily copy something or someone else just, see what’s the simplest way in which notion can solve your problem. And then ether from that to, to get to like the very best experience that you can get out of the tool. **Jose:** And I’d say like that advice applies to like any tool that, that you’re onboarding into. Okay. **Vidal:** No, I think that’s good. Yes. Cuz there’s a lot of notion templates and stuff you can download and you’re right. There are lots of videos. It really can feel overwhelming at time, but it is a, an amazing tool. If you could recommend one book to managers, what would it be and why? ---------------------------------------------------------------------- **Vidal:** If you could recommend one book to \[00:22:30\] managers, what would it be and why? **Jose:** So I have a couple of books in mind. One is the manager’s path by Camille Fournier and then the other one is probably Dare To Lead by Brené Brown. About the manager’s path. I think that many engineering leaders I talk to share the same experience as me where, we start this journey of leadership without fully understanding what we’re signing up for. So if I were to pull up, just a thread from the many that this book has I say that when you look at why people decide to transition into management, you find that. **Jose:** A common \[00:23:00\] answer is, to keep progressing or getting promoted X company. And I think that’s because many companies still treat engineering and engineering management as a single path. And I think that folks find themselves forced to make the transition because they’re really, aren’t, that many other options for you to give balancing and growing. **Jose:** Unfortunately, like many people don’t even know that options exist outside of their environment. So I think that Camille’s book does a great job at painting that picture. It really shows you the range of what’s possible. So you can make an informed decision. \[00:23:30\] Based on what you want for your career, you can just, take a look at the book and come up with some decisions of Hey, like this actually seems and enticing or compelling to me versus just like going into the wild with no notion of, what to expect and what’s possible. **Jose:** Yeah, absolutely. I think that the one by Brene brown Dare to Lead, I think that I like how Brene challenges what, corporate culture is, even today like the. Kinda like this notion of the, you just have to like brave \[00:24:00\] things and, and show power and show authority. **Jose:** I think that there’s so much power in showing vulnerability and, power and also like courage. You have to have the courage to be vulnerable and show that side of you to, to your team. And I think that when you really do. You open the doors for a lot of like trust-building that you can, later on, use a as a platform for everyone involved, like learning and growing and being their best selves. **Jose:** So I think that it’s I absolutely love like the, everything that \[00:24:30\] Brene and brown has to offer, especially, like when she applies her research to, corporate culture and. **Vidal:** Yeah, she has some really good books. I agree. And I think also done some Ted talks and other videos as well. **Vidal:** We were talking earlier, so right now we just finished wrapping up. I think at both our companies like annual reviews, performance reviews. So I wanted to ask you how you do, not just that, but general career coaching career development of your staff. Do you. Some thoughts \[00:25:00\] you could share on that. **Jose:** Yeah, absolutely. I think that when you become someone’s engineering leader, I think that the very first thing that you need to do is build trust with them. So I’d say there’s a preparation of trust observation, coming up with opportunities and feedback that you need to go through. **Jose:** It’s kinda like a cycle. Once you build trust, you can get close to people and you can use that to observe, how they’re operating, how they conduct themselves and all these things that you can later \[00:25:30\] on use to find opportunities, things that, they’re really good at. and then after you do that pairing, then it’s a matter of observing and then giving continuous feedback. It’s the workflow that I follow it’s worked for me. **Jose:** I think that there’s of course challenges. I think that for me, giving feedback, has been a challenge, like ever since I started in the workforce, something that I have worked on a lot. But to this day, like still like giving feedback it’s, it’s hard. **Jose:** It’s like just notions talk. Yeah, Giving uncomfortable feedback ----------------------------- **Vidal:** go. Sorry. I said, we talked to her about giving uncomfortable \[00:26:00\] feedback. That, that, like you have thoughts on that, cuz that’s really hard for some people. **Jose:** Yeah, absolutely. I think that it’s a notion of, you wanna be nice. You don’t wanna offend anyone. **Jose:** You don’t wanna be mean to anyone. So I think that at least me with my cultural background. That’s just not nice. You like, I think there’s this idiom that translates roughly to if you don’t have anything good to say, just don’t say anything. And I think that kind of hurts us, right? **Jose:** Cause I think that at the end of the day, like feedback is a present. Like that have to give to other people it’s just, \[00:26:30\] being in that mindset to receive it or to give it that’s hard. And that’s why I talk about trust. Cause I think that when you really build trust, you can use that as like a platform for being able to give that feedback. **Jose:** I think that. I’d had to give like uncomfortable feedback many times. And I think that something that, that gets me through it, it’s I heard someone say I really can’t remember who it is. **Jose:** How far are you get in life or the trajectory of your growth, something like that is directly related \[00:27:00\] to the amount of uncomfortable conversations that you’re willing to have. So I think that when I think about that okay one, this is gonna help me grow two this is gonna help them grow. And three what’s the worst that can happen? Someone might be upset but then that’s always something that you can repair and as long as you’re candid where you’re kind and you are able to show people that you’re coming from a standpoint of wanting to help and wanting to like for them to grow. **Jose:** I think that, you’re in good footing and, relationships, have high points and \[00:27:30\] low points. And I think it’s just a matter of being able to recognize those and, do the work to like repair whatever it needs to repairing. **Vidal:** I think that’s awesome. **Vidal:** I’m gonna have to look up that quote, cuz it’s really interesting and yeah, like I’ll tell people when I give ’em this feedback, which I’ve learned is I’m not saying this to hurt your feelings, I’m saying this to help you. But it could hurt your feelings. When I tell you, but this is not my intention. So absolutely. I **Jose:** think that’s a great that’s a great way of doing it. I think I might try that. Yeah. I think that, so something else about \[00:28:00\] giving feedback, I think that. You need to be like very mindful and intentional about like the wording I use. **Jose:** But more importantly, make sure that the other person is getting the message. Like I had situations where I go in and I do my thing. Give the feedback, whatnot, and then. Let’s say that it’s like a performance review. We have that conversation I think that I made my points clear. **Jose:** I got my message through. And then when we have the next conversation, which is about, rewards and \[00:28:30\] compensation based on performance, then it’s a total surprise, starts the questions and it’s oh, why did this happen? Like why am I not getting more? **Jose:** And then I found myself perplexed and thought I took care of this and no I did not take care of it. I was just not clear. And I think that’s like that desire to like, not be mean or not make people feel bad. **Jose:** I think that sometimes gets in the way and you end up like sugar coding and even like unconsciously sugar coating the message to the point where people just don’t get the message and then it \[00:29:00\] becomes something shocking and surprising later on. So I’d say my advice would be for people to be as clear as you can be. **Jose:** It’s hard, it’s uncomfortable. But it’ll be better later on. I think that, so it’s something that, that says in her book actually is, clear is kind unclear is unkind. And I think that’s, that, that’s what I go with. Yeah. **Vidal:** That’s a great point. We could talk more about that. **Vidal:** There’s a lot of cultural things there and like you’re saying, if you’re too nice, like I’ve seen examples where a manager feels that they’ve given a \[00:29:30\] lot of corrective feedback in a performance review that it was but the person leaving, they feel like it was they were doing great. Where could people go if they wanted to connect with you or learn more about you afterward? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **Vidal:** Which is like a total disconnect. Because of that, trying to be too nice. Jose it’s been great to have you. On manager’s club. Thank you so much. You’ve been very generous with your time. If people wanna connect with you afterwards reach out to you, ask any questions, what would be the best way? **Jose:** Absolutely. So I’m both in Twitter and LinkedIn. So I’m Jose in the Arena in both. So that’s how you can find me. **Vidal:** That’s \[00:30:00\] a great handle by the way, Jose in the arena could. Yeah. Alright. Very good, Jose. Thanks again so much for being here. Oh, totally. Yeah, **Jose:** It was my pleasure to be here. I really appreciate it.

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