Frameworks for Improving Engineering Leadership with Edmond Lau

Edmond LauEdmond Lau is the author of the book, The Effective Engineernow the de facto onboarding guide for many engineering teams. He’s spent the past decade building and leading engineering teams at high-growth companies across Silicon Valley — including at Quip, Quora, Ooyala, and Google.

As an engineering leadership coach, Edmond has worked directly with CTO’s, directors, managers, and other emerging leaders to unlock what’s possible for them and their teams. He’s run workshops and seminars at places like Pinterest, Google, Facebook, Quip, and Medium to raise the bar on what it means to be an effective engineering leader. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Time, Slate, Inc., Fortune, and Wired.

Edmond recently embarked on a new adventure with engineering-manager-turned-coach Jean Hsu to build the best leadership development brand out there for engineers and people in tech. They’ll be taking the most valuable lessons they’ve learned from coaching 100+ tech leads, managers, directors, engineering VPs, and CTOs — and distilling them into simple frameworks, powerful workshops, and online experiences. Follow the journey at coleadership.com, where they’ll be sharing everything they’re learning.

On today’s episode we discuss how to be an effective engineering leader, frameworks for improving your management skills and coaching for success.

Links

Show Notes

The Effective Engineer

Software Lead Weekly

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change

High Output Management

POWERFUL CONVERSATIONS FOR LEADERS IN TECH

Read Full Transcript

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:00] Good afternoon and welcome to the show.

Edmond Lau:
[0:03] Christian.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:04] Absolutely always my pleasure and for all my guess who can’t be here today Edmund is actually in the cortical studio today so welcome and thank you for coming in.

Edmond Lau:
[0:12] Yes gorgeous view on your window.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:14] Everybody keep saying that I definitely am going to have to kind of feel like a live stream or something of this and I was put my back to the window so many guests can actually watch their kind of the Freighters come in and go and everything.
Wright’s images sue for our guest information here a little bit about kind of your background and how you got to be where you are today.

Edmond Lau:
[0:33] Sure I did and way back when I did my undergrad Master the mightiest of the computer science and.
First job out of college for working on the search qualities game at Google.
And one of one of the tennis I follow throughout my career is just too focused on you know where I can really optimized for learning so I felt like.
I learned a lot through my tears are cool and the side of thoughts of the next big leap in learning would come from during startups for the past.
I almost 10 years now I got just been working and stars in Silicon Valley worked out a company called who y’all out most early employee at Cora.
And one of the more interesting things like between my rolls at core and quit was I.
2 years to self publish a book called the effective engineer.
Where I can swing around Silicon Valley interviewing engineering leaders and collected for the best stories and lessons that they have learned over the years.
And then most recently I just left my job at quip and I started company with another engineering manager turned coach Gene Sue to start a company leadership.
But we’re working to build the best leadership brand there is out there for engineering illusions.

Christian Mccarrick:
[1:47] Excellent how many took kind of that time to go that book was that actually in between sort of the positions or did you do that what kind of Moonlighting when you’re doing a job.

Edmond Lau:
[1:54] It was a little half and half.
I’m really I really admire those people who could write like an entire book while working a full-time job to feel it feels really hard taking 10 months off between.
Between core and clip to work on the book and then the entire project.
I thought would actually take a year but end up being about to just 22 months from start to finish and the second part of reading the book I finish my hours at quit.

Christian Mccarrick:
[2:20] Okay and did working a car at all with kind of question and answer is and all the people undergoing on influence your decision to write a book at all or can it was a Genesis over there for you.

Edmond Lau:
[2:28] Yeah I think like when I.
The first two starters I worked out of y’all and Cora I was at $3 for two years before for three I was working really long hours I was working me to 60 70 80 hours a week when actually showing for of the.
The careers page actually read you know you should be willing to make the startup the primary focus.

Christian Mccarrick:
[2:53] Wow that’s cold.

Edmond Lau:
[2:54] Yeah it was very intense but back then I truly believed in.
Wow that’s that’s some dedication at this team has and I want to be part of that team and so for the early part of my Sharp career I was putting these really long hours and you know I have this belief that.
By working hard that’s how you be affected that’s how you get things done that’s how you succeed as an underdog and like the entire team believe in that and it took me a long time to realize that.
Yeah maybe that’s not good not the best strategy there were a bunch of projects where we spent,
multiple months on it like these content moderation tools or talk or at where the most home runs on it and then just didn’t get that you’ve heard option that we want it or there was a analytics project I worked on for a customer we all are the multiple weeks on it.

Christian Mccarrick:
[3:44] Frustrating.

Edmond Lau:
[3:46] Yeah and I’m near there was there was a time where I was taking a break from.
Vacation during my time of y’all and you know hiking around these volcanoes in Hawaii and you know some during my time off then suddenly I get to get a page from my phone and it’s a text message from the ZTE he’s like Blockbuster is down.
And it was a piece of software that was processing all the analytics for customers and.
You know I was the only person who was familiar with that code because we were just working so hard and doing so many things in like fighting so many fires and.
Yeah it was not a great situation for anyone that was terrible for me and my wife because we’re supposed to rotational schedule for the team who depending on me it was terrible for the customers who couldn’t get there going to let X reports.
You know I was putting all of these hours but you know was it really sort of worth it.
They’re all these projects that worked on where I could have literally not worked on them at all or like him at all and the company was just been as well off better off because the employees.
And so then you realize that there has to be a better way of working there has to be something like a better framework for determining like how you’re actually effective is it engineer.
And that’s what this really the Genesis of that book it was for the best this quest to find out how do you actually be a more effective than generic what is the metric that we should be using to measure Effectiveness that’s not just hours worked.

[5:17] And so I went around in a circle house for 2 years interviewed you know the best Engineers could find the message clearly that I could find,
and ask them you know what what are the most Five Lessons you learned what are the biggest mistakes that you’ve made everyone have different story but there are a lot of common themes and those themes I had to turn to that book.

Christian Mccarrick:
[5:35] At attention cuz you you started that book to work on what makes an effective engineer right but during that time you’ve interviewed a lot of engineering leaders,
Wright’s so what did you find about that process right was a how much did you find that process where the leader right was how much influence did they really have on making their team effective right was it really the engineer themselves and how much in tax bill leader have on that team.

Edmond Lau:
[5:58] Yeah I think the leader helped set the tone for sort of what things are valued like having a really great example of this is.
Bobby Johnson who was formerly the director of engineering Facebook page for structure team and now he’s the CTO in Toronto and,
he had this belief.
Fixing box to be like working on things that might not seem that glamorous a lot of you on his team was were sort of focusing on things like they’re really shine either with a new tool they were things that make a lot of tension.
In a lot of what was necessary till I keep Facebook running running and being successful was focusing on a lot of these these,
is nasty bugs.
He would spend a lot of time I’m celebrating who he thought we were at the Hiroshima team people who were spending time to bug in Yardley bucks people who were getting the speed of services like much faster,
people to working on things that weren’t that glamorous but he would spend attention and his time celebrating,
at work. Type of focus and just decision in terms of what to spend time on what to spend attention on should really then shifts,
how the rest of the team looks at that type of work.
And that’s sort of where I think a lot of Effectiveness comes from is just like setting the tone setting the culture for people on the team.

Christian Mccarrick:
[7:28] Now you transition from that you wrote the book I think when it’s been it’s been very popular right for successful and,
you’ve done transition a bit from the focus on the engineer themselves into this engineering leadership and you’ve worked to also as you’ve become before you your most recent Endeavor which will get tuna in a couple minutes and you become a leadership coach as well,
so, what prompted you from that focus on the engineer to the focus on the engineering leader.

Edmond Lau:
[7:57] Yeah I think one of the big turning points happened during through my time equip there was one.
There was a. Where I was feeling not just written the book I was felt like I was following a lot of strategies and lessons I’ve learned so I was being,
but I have to get this law where I was feeling a lot less motivated about my work like I wasn’t.
It’s the work so it wasn’t as fulfilling as I thought it would be and I was struggling to figure out what to do next and no one thing that I’ve always enjoyed was just like I’m entering into our coach another piece.
And so I thought okay well maybe one way to to get myself excited that work again is to spend some time on coaching and so.
I decided I would ask my manager Kevin he was the head of engineering at at the time.
You’re not typically spend 20% of my time at clip-on on coaching instead of my regular pasta.

Christian Mccarrick:
[8:58] Other engineers.

Edmond Lau:
[9:00] I told you other Engineers what you been coaching people outside.
Just wait investing in a training as a coach and also like coaching people either wasn’t quicker outside of club and I remember you looking pretty nervous about that conversation because we were really small team at a time where maybe only.
Yeah 13-14-15 engineers and for me to take 20% of my time away from product work felt like a big ass.
And so the night before I was I was pretty nervous I was in a practicing sort of like how do I ask for this time with my wife,
rehearsing this conversation and I thought oh maybe maybe I’ll even offer to take like a 20% pay cut so it’s so that I could spend time on coaching and she was like no that’s not a good strategy,
and.

Christian Mccarrick:
[9:48] Don’t you know that negotiate against yourself so I think.

Edmond Lau:
[9:52] And so yeah the next day you know how do I want to watch those Kevin we’re outside on the roof of our building and.
You know I told him that like coaching was something that I was interested in exploring and you know I told him about how it goes probably might be like a short-term get to the routine for activity because I was spending up and spend less time on the product.
But I thought you a long-term it would be probably useful to.
Next develop some coaching skills that I could for bring back to the team and I wasn’t really sure how he would respond.
You didn’t even hesitate you just said yeah of course like of course I’m going to do this he was immediately very supportive it and it’s only the only request was I spend maybe half of that that time does this figure out how to bring the coaching back into.
And that was a pretty big turning point for me because I enter that one on one conversation feeling feeling a little unmotivated feeling like I’m not really in the back side of my work but like the fact that he was so supportive.
I almost felt like.
Like a some Jedi mind trick going on where I walked out of that in a 30 minute conversation feeling so much more excited so much more energized and so much more enthusiastic about working at the company and.
Yeah I spend up staying equipped for about 2 more years and that that moment is really sore stuck with me because because it made me think.

[11:24] You know what if all people have the opportunity to work with engineer and leaders like Kevin Ware know you’re able.
To you not make me feel unmotivated 36 30 minutes later you feel like their support it and you feel recharged or maybe you feel stuck on something and after a half hour or an hour long conversation you have a New Perspective that get you unstuck and moving.
And so for the past year.
I didn’t warm. This isn’t 14 months with this institution call the coaches training institute on studying and how to be a leadership coach and also like wearing myself as a leader because I want to figure out like how do you.
Like what what’s involved insert having those types of conversations that create these moments that can turn someone from feeling you’re not that motivated not that excited to someone who’s like again like every energized recharged and much more motivated without their work.
Secrete that more often for more people.
In top of the huge that’s really it’s for the turning point that got me really interested in what leadership coaching is it leadership development.

Christian Mccarrick:
[12:31] And even coaching at [4:14] kind of plus mods doing that what if you are.
Cluster the things that you’ve learned from that right what are the top three items that these engineering leaders are coming to you about as our biggest problems to come as big as Roblox they have to being affected themselves.

Edmond Lau:
[12:52] Yeah been one of it is just learning to let go.
You know a lot of a lot of these leaders got to the positions because you’re really good at what they do.
And as organization scale they have to learn to surf start letting go of the things that other people might be able to do so if they’re able to that they can focus on the things that they’re uniquely qualified.
I’m in so how do you serve develop the ability to ask for help to start a trust other people on your team to really start delegating some of your work then. That’s a large part.
Another another big theme is.
How do you create a how do you connect your building share contact with teams as they grow.
Think one team for small it’s very easy for everyone to stay on the same page but asking for a larger there it’s harder and harder to maintain a core sense of alignment.
I’m an as a leader that’s something that you really need to focus on Building look up creating that’s our shared understanding across everyone that team so everyone’s on the same page and can to make decisions that are aligned with your formation.
I meant so figuring out how to create these these like shared group contacts is there another area.
Half a cup is on.

Christian Mccarrick:
[14:16] Okay and if you were to.
Describe the level of engineering reader that kind of was one of your biggest going to clients so it is it more experienced leaders or brand new managers or is it from the mix of it.

Edmond Lau:
[14:31] It would range coached people who are looking for like an individual contributors and like tech leads and managers to people who are directors and and CTS at the company.

Christian Mccarrick:
[14:43] And if they reached out to you at like hey I was raising your hand I want to have help or are they kind of guided to get help in general Leasing.

Edmond Lau:
[14:50] That’s a good question I think it’s probably a combination of them.
Numb reaching out to me probably likes her seeing some of the work that I’ve done for my book I think I can definitely happen haven’t read a book. That definitely helped create a.
Hey Brandon oakiwear nests around effective teams are the best.
The framework syntactic so we have here no figuring out how to go to use those and some tunes.

Christian Mccarrick:
[15:28] Hopefully you don’t use a framework from Uber or somebody’s other companies.
Beer today if you were to give guidance to certify an up-and-coming software engineering manager today.
To help them prepare for that role right maybe they’re not quite in the management of said they’re very new in their first time gig what would you say is probably the most important thing they should try to focus on first help them transition into that role.

Edmond Lau:
[15:52] Yeah what if it is just how to have.
I have a coaching style curtains daughter powerful conversations Gene and I have been running these workshops in our first Workshop was in December I was called powerful conversation for engineering leaders.
I’m in the reason that we focused on these conversations because you know we really believe that.
You can intentionally create trust with people around you and there are a bunch of skills that we’ve both learned from coaching but actually relevant to to management and in terms of.
You know being a a new manager that’s her shift from took leadership team from like a individual contribute type roll to a management type it all these are most important.
Skills are gaps israfil is really how do you connect with the people that you’re working with in a lot of the skills everything coaching is around.

Christian Mccarrick:
[16:53] Okay.
Transitioning to be here to ConAgra latest Endeavor right and you recently quit your job right to launch this this endeavor yourself right congratulations on that take sod and it’s called Cola leadership,
track and you are doing this as a kind of Yuko partner with this with Jean suit.
Rights and far listeners if you want to go back I also had gene on as a podcast guest a couple of months ago it was really a very good episode of too so I encourage you go back in,
and listen to that no tell me a little bit about what it were the goals are with Kohler ship Wrightwood is kind of your vision for for taking this company what do you want to do with it.

Edmond Lau:
[17:33] Yep we’re where we want to build the.
Best leadership development plan that there is out there for engineers leaders of Tuck and if we both work at work two companies me equipment on Jean at medium or we felt like there was a very strong people for culture and.
I’m kinda like a story structure of Kevin earlier like that type of focus on people instead of what people.
I need answer of how to grow people in their careers is something that enables a lot of good things to happen in the cultures that we worked up.
Like because you know Kevin Swissport even like focused on on people,
that’s what inspired me in early detentionaire circles at work where I was creating a space where people have shared dialogue and hard topics like howdy design relationships what to do when you’re not motivated.
How to ask for help and want to bring a lot of that.
Culture to other companies in Tech. Might not have access to it until treeless killed of how to actually.
You know invest in people invest in these trust-building conversations and.
That’s not working out to do and we’ve been doing that initially by focusing on workshops with a focus on a lot on our writing sharing a lot of with learned at coaches as well as our own experiences.
And also building things online so that we can you know creates the same types of experiences for people who might not be in the Bay Area.

Christian Mccarrick:
[19:07] Okay when you talk about trying to improve overall which is a big goal that I’m fully supportive of tenses podcast your do you view this as a top-down initiative and Company is a bottom-up initiative or both right in the summer if I’m going to.
A company may be on the mid-level engineering manager and maybe I get it.
Write how do I as a person really start to influence change in my organization.

Edmond Lau:
[19:33] Yeah I think that’s that’s what that ties into little bit as to why we’re calling cool leadership.
I’m so cold look at that the prefix Co enlightens word means like together or like an in common.
And what were they really believe about leadership is that something that you do along with other people and you know some of the,
lost wife’s Friday we let a workshop at medium with their engineering team and one of the most powerful things that we doing workshops just recreate the share contact.
I know people can really start to understand and see the impact that everyone on the team has a particular Workshop was focused on helping the people on a team discover their own super powers like what are the superpowers that you bring that created back on the team.
I’m an untreated share contacts where people where you can sort of see and hear about the impact they actually having on a team you all times.
One of the things that question does that sometimes like you might feel like you know something or you feel like you can contribute something.
But because you don’t have Travis already around that thing if you like you’re stepping on toes if you’re exercising too much or if you express your your strengths too much.
And so no was great about that Workshop was we just we helped create a share contacts where.
No people were reflecting back the impact that there’s individuals heart on the team and just hearing about that impact give you more permission to then.

[21:03] Act on it.
I worked out the window with a team we might independent workshops one thing they were experimenting with having people sign up in Paris.
I’m so finding another friend or colleague that you bring to a workshop so that there’s at least someone else that you can have the share contacts with.
I’m so that you’re not the only one trying to shift the culture of your company there yet we have someone else who can help keep you accountable but also help support you in practicing the skills that you take away.

Christian Mccarrick:
[21:33] And again if I.
Play the party, I’m a mid-level manager at a company what things do I do maybe to try to convince my head of engineering CTO VP of engineering to maybe bring in a workshop such as this to accompany her what are the benefits that you see people get out of this.

Edmond Lau:
[21:49] Yeah I think a lot of it.
To protect it on that I think from our perspective want to make it easy for you to convince your manager or work there is just to make sure we delivering value make sure we’re,
able to communicate that value to you know this mid-level manager who might be working at some company in this person with resources so that they can convince other people so that’s part of life.
On the new managers side the.
The benefits are really sort of know what what is possible when you can boo start to.
Have a strong sense of trust with the people around you I remember.
Equip mom you’re there was a very senior engineer his name was John and he.
He was something he was someone who really let him suck your team like a really respected him every time I went to the question about like he wasn’t sure if laser focus and was able to get at the answer.
But I was also like a very intimidated by him because I felt like he was always doing something that seems really important.
I didn’t want to bother him and so every time you know I thought about going to go ask John’s question I would probably buy it or just trying to sell it myself.
Because I didn’t want to bother him.
And you know that was okay for a while because my team worked on things that was very different from his team and so we could get by with that we got by for about 3 years without.

[23:31] You really have until like connector for a little really learn too much about each other and it was sort of as a team grew that.
Now we both individually started to focus on initiatives to help support the engineering team and we were both single loser team we were both trying to think of ways to support the team that’s what we started like I was thinking about.
You know it would be great if we had some more initiative Support Tech lead since I was talking with other managers know maybe we can run some workshops protect leaves or maybe we can maybe get you some of my new coaching,
training to figure out a guy technoblades and then one day you know John just heard of an ounce.
We’re doing mentoring for exactly it’s a mentor and.
And I was involved in decision-making but a little left out and I’ll have a little box in because I was being told what to do for a fraction of their interaction and I was also thinking about.
And I’ll be great if we could start these engineering circles that would make it easier for people to talk about these topics we don’t know we talked about you know how to design relationships how to ask for help.
And variety of other topics and you know I got a bunch of feedback that seemed mostly positive but then I ended up hitting a bunch of resistance from John if he was so concerned that the circles my.
I’m going to cause harm to the team. They might start.

[25:01] In the clicks on the team and so he wasn’t supportive and I wasn’t sure where skepticism was coming from but I still want his support because he was supposed to be leader on the team.
So it was clear that.
At the lack of trust in a relationship was causing friction mini was not really serving any of our individual initiative since out and.

[25:32] One day I should have mustered up enough courage to tell him you know John you actually intimidate me.
Its total very directly and I also know that you know we share a lot of positive intentions for the team like we want the team to succeed but like the lack of trust and sort of just are like I’m the best man this is making things really hard.
And,
I also learned this assumption clearing exercise from my year at the coaches training institute and so I invited him to know let’s try it’s good for building trust and so,
we sat down and we started clearing the assumptions that we had with each other stories haven’t made up about the other person that made it hard for us to work together.
And tell you I should have something with him that you know I felt like.
He always felt like he had to go to work on things by himself and soft pop on Zone and the impact of that assumption was that it felt harder for me to actually can shoot my ideas or to get involved in things that he was doing.
You should have something with me that you know he felt like I wanted to coach everyone even though even people who didn’t want to be.
And I was just like some resistance at the initiative. I was coming.
And that we would have went back and forth and sharing all these assumptions that we had about each other and the impact of the Assumption had on the hard work relationship and not for an hour.
You know I understand a lot more about there where he was coming from but he shared some stories around.

[27:05] Search some bad Magic Springs in the past that’s colored his perspective on engineering circles.
And he learned a little bit about sword microsecond coaching where in a coaching has been really transformative in life but on my home life as well.
And just receiving a lot more about you know what was what were the stories that we each had an understanding where they are coming from create a level of trust that just didn’t exist before.
I’m looking for anymore trust in that one hour long conversation that we had in 3 years by the end we were just throwing Alex fun and creative ideas like how we could work together.
And I’m really grateful and I feel really proud that we had that conversation because afterwards,
he was the joint of my engineer circles and was a great cover letter for them and I help support and neglect reactive Rowland and mentorship and stuff we got a lot farther because we were able to have a conversation.
But since I’m also feeling some regret that we didn’t have that conversation with the reading of 3 years old.
I like what what what else could we have done together and like we’re all the missed opportunities like what you missed out on.
That little trust is really sort of why there’s a lot of urgency in this working that’s that’s really sort of why you know someone who might be mid-level manager.
No would benefit from going to this work is because if you can create a level of trust much sooner so much more is possible for your team’s than one user to have this on this Earth friction exist because you don’t trust people.

Christian Mccarrick:
[28:43] Sure and I noticed to you talk about it here and you’ve talked about it in some of your writing.
Go to Eugene deck the concept of trust comes up again and again right and you just give a prime example of Ky that’s important what are the ways other ways you think that.
Teams or individuals can work on building trust with each other.

Edmond Lau:
[29:03] Yeah music the story I shared was your trust that came out of a a tense relationship right but there are other types of relationships in other situations where.
That’s really helpful to build trust like if I’m working with you on a new project it’s really helpful to I can coach and call design of the alliance were we figure out explicitly know where things are important to you in this project what are things going to be.
I really should spend a lot of time explicit designing what that relationship should look like.
That’s Tamil table conversation. You’ll brings everything it’s important explicit to a table I’m so that you can actually have a higher trust relationship when you’re working in the project.

Christian Mccarrick:
[29:41] Okay so trust also is about to be a bit with transparency is.

Edmond Lau:
[29:46] Don’t make making things explicit is very important like a lot of times like the stories wear makeup or the Assumption we have or know what’s important to you or me there just sit and wonder and plus it’s hard to actually have any dialogue around.

Christian Mccarrick:
[30:00] Yeah that’s true and I mean any good for me I think even back in college I’ve was more of an introverted personality I think a lot of engineering people can attend to be that over generalizing way but but some of the reception was at,
it’s not that I was introverted to tie was.
I’m stuck off for people thought I was better than because I wasn’t baby being as outgoing but is really like you and I noticed that tongue sometimes I think when you.
After what someone told me that and I was like shocked that’s how you view me and is like I’m that’s a hundred eighty degrees and that force myself a little bit too too.
You’re trying to meet other people in Middle two and try to work on that that I cannot downsides of introversion right because people are forming those those use her.
The same thing you can see in an organization here will you know Bob or Jeanne.
Isn’t talking to me therefore they don’t like me right it’s going to be the same thing they want to help you but they’re there may be afraid like you were intimidated your story will maybe you know they’re intimidated of you and you look at yourself how could I ever be in anybody.

Edmond Lau:
[31:01] Yeah all of us like our behaviors have impact on people a lot of times I was in practice is not obvious it’s obvious none intended and that’s why I should have making explicit.
Then at least create information that you can use to decide who should I change my behavior because I want to change the impact that I’m having.

Christian Mccarrick:
[31:18] Correct and especially as you go higher up in the higher key of leadership positions your impact on people is greater than just being kind of a peer relationship.

Edmond Lau:
[31:27] Right and you also have to work harder to sometimes extract an impact because people might be more afraid to share with you because of the like the authority versus like with a pier and then at least you know it’s Skips a little bit easier to sort of figure out your inbox.

Christian Mccarrick:
[31:41] Correct I think one of the good things to Oren runs this great list Kennedy kind of engineering weekly list and lately he’s been starting to publishing to put kind of a call for people on that list it,
to publish their and share their kind of management Manifesto or their management guidelines which asserted that contract as you talked about right,
setting those expectations at the beginning of that relationship and not being the employee manager relationship right up front right this is how I like to be communicated to.
This is what’s important to me these are my values so it kind of helps that that that trust as well.

Edmond Lau:
[32:13] Absolutely I mean when people have a new manager they bring a lot of sort of historical contacts from all the previous manager.

Christian Mccarrick:
[32:19] Bad manager is a lot.

Edmond Lau:
[32:20] Bad managers are like managers and its importance or clarify about what you and your new manager want that relationship to be like.

Christian Mccarrick:
[32:30] Shirts and one of the things do you talk about again in your writings and and said you talked about the concept of.
Frameworks and tools that can help managers and leaders become more effective what do you mean by that to find tools and Frameworks what does that mean.

Edmond Lau:
[32:45] Oh yeah that’s an engineer you know I like things that are.
Yeah. That are very concrete building blocks like abstractions are very helpful having something.
What the name is Regret very helpful because it gives you something to talk about.

Christian Mccarrick:
[33:07] So you like Fowler.

Edmond Lau:
[33:08] And.
Some of the things I learned from from coaching or loose developments they have names but they don’t release of resonate with.

[33:22] People in industry and so a lot of a lot of the work is around bridging that like how do we how do we sort of take.
Some of the best ideas from other Industries are from coaching which development how do we do know most clearly just without those to the situation that we face.
And so be a lot of work. I’ll be doing with Gene and that’s what I told your ship is just taking taking these ideas and figuring out how to translate them into sewer framework clear tools.
Works Village from map into an engineer or a manager or director is role so that it’s become more sensible.

Christian Mccarrick:
[34:02] Do you like blueprints recipes reference architectures for management.
And I think that’s and I’m sure as you’ve seen through your coaching and through this process and I’ve seen through managing and leading many teams you tend especially when your hair it seems that you tend to find a lot of the same problems over and over again,
bread so you’re trying to create these sort of things that you can go into a situation and maybe not everyone applies,
right but you have the set of tools true that you can apply or at least look at is a similar yes so I can use a b or c and then and you know become effective quicker.
Grates and in any kind of specific thing you have made an example of that that that you want to share.

Edmond Lau:
[34:43] Charter One example would be.

[34:49] In a 1-1 tool that extra briefly mention I first was his idea like designing an alliance where you don’t have to coach I’ll do that with the client where was with this. It’s designed the relationship up front what does it mean to be a coach what do you expect from me what I expect from you.
And that’s a very.
Important conversation at the very beginning designing a relationship but it’s also an important conversation to have when you are designing worship with a with a new manager having a one-on-one where both of you are being asked about how you want,
the know that relationship that Alliance workout.
What are things that you might want as a report of what he thinks you might expect what are your goals and what is things I’m your manager am I expecting you.
I’m having. Especially designed becomes something that you can serve refer back to become the share contacts list of context they can refer back to the future one-on-ones so that your manager might be able to help you identify and what are.
Projects or opportunities that might help you grow in your career and similarly the report then you might have a better idea of what your manager might actually expect from you.
It’s also very useful tool when you are starting out on a project where you can understand what are everyone’s stakes in the project and having that explicitly spelled out so that.
In any decision people feel hurt people feel like they have what’s important to them being considered.
Skip that phase like we we know that it’s important for instance to designer code right we wouldn’t we want to jump into right now so jump in the writing code and.

Christian Mccarrick:
[36:20] Not all of us.

Edmond Lau:
[36:21] Willy’s know the the benefits of like designing.
Right but sometimes we don’t we don’t apply that same type of thinking to our relationships we’re actually supposed to leave designing relationships can also be really Bible.

Christian Mccarrick:
[36:35] And we also hear a lot the this concept of coaching and mentoring right in your mind are they synonymous or what’s the difference between CEO coach and mentor.

Edmond Lau:
[36:47] That’s a great question.
With mentoring a lot of times the focus is on for sharing your own experiences that you think might want might not be helpful for the other person so you might share a story about a time when you were in a single single situation.
And some of the helps to know that someone else has been through something like this but other times they might not land.
I was coaching the focus is entirely on the other person it’s like believing that the other person has the answer somewhere as a coach I spent a lot of time asking.
Questions regarding a client toward discovering the most of it in a resin the perspective for them what are things I’ve learned of the coaches at,
and as engineer as we use logic a lot and we know we argue like I said I’ve been 5 years and in high school and college like debating using logic to argue points is great when you’re building a building software.
It doesn’t work that well when you’re dealing with like emotions and how people are feeling about things.

Christian Mccarrick:
[37:51] Especially in a relationship out of work or in work.

Edmond Lau:
[37:55] I I used to live because I come from a big background at home I would spend.
And the other days I would I would I would argue about life all the time because I knew I could win.

Christian Mccarrick:
[38:06] Because I knew I could win.

Edmond Lau:
[38:09] And it took me a really long time to serve learn that like it one of these arguments wasn’t really serious relationship.
Not like it was much better to not focus on short-term when stocks to invest in in the long-term relationship and so.
Be used to learn that lesson again in coaching where like logic is not the thing that would help people get past the roadblocks.
I’m all things a hold lyrics back from being even better versions of themselves or being better leaders doesn’t really you know what is the logical thing to do like a lot of them know what the logical thing to do is,
they just there’s like some other like limiting belief or story at the Thomas outfit like holding them back.
Another coach it’s there finding questions find a perspectives that can help people get unstuck and it’s through a perspective where you know this person.
Is someone who has the answer inside them they just ready to be guided toward.
Guided tours in the better version.

Christian Mccarrick:
[39:12] Sure and your.
What do you feel about should every manager out there get a coach is this something that’s the last 4 years or is it more situational specific and what time if I’m a felon injury manager on my listeners.
You don’t do I get one because I want to level up my career do I get one because I let you know I just I don’t know how to handle the situation right now how do you go about finding when it’s time to get one and then I would you find one.

Edmond Lau:
[39:36] Yeah me I have a pressed by expected where is that where I feel it would be beneficial if everyone had actually want to coach for like every aspect of my life I feel like I would be I really Bible.

Christian Mccarrick:
[39:49] Pro Sports people do it you know Jess please everyone else seems to have coach.

Edmond Lau:
[39:53] And many other Industries Sports it is very normal to have a coach.
You know and a lot of these engineering I mean even in the medical field,
having a coach is not something that’s as normal and so I think that that puts actually puts I think a lot of Advantage because there isn’t a strong.
I haven’t got the normal eyes. Is it okay to have a coach.

Christian Mccarrick:
[40:22] You don’t appear week maybe. It’s a weakness that I need help.

Edmond Lau:
[40:25] Right but really it’s it’s like finding a coach’s really it just about noon if you decide that your your crew is important or just one aspect of your life is important why wouldn’t you invest more.
Like my wife and I and I started seeing like a marriage coach last year that’s one of the best decisions we made like what if if it if it was important why wouldn’t you invest in it and we.
Number one conversation we where we.
We both decided know why didn’t we find know about this earlier I open so wonderful to like just learn a lot about just like have access to a resource like that like way early.

Christian Mccarrick:
[40:59] No that’s good what any any kind of other last thoughts about,
concept of kind of what you’re doing when your company or any other ideas and tips you might want to kind of give to my listeners who are really I think listening because they’re they want to improve their career and their leadership and their management skills.

[41:23] Besides going to one of your your new workshops it’s coming up which I put in the show notes.

Edmond Lau:
[41:38] I think the one of the most valuable perspectives is that.

[41:46] Many of the skills that we think might come naturally to people are actually skills that are very personable.
Effectiveness of certainly like one of the things I’ve got very learnable on like my book.
Breaks it down into a form of Leverage that you focus on the highest.
Activities that have the highest return-on-investment other other other other much softer skills that people might think of people just naturally have a storytelling ability or so someone might match will just be.
Comfortable having these type of conversations and.

[42:26] It seems natural only because that person might have practice it for a long time or they grew up in an environment where it was very normal to talk about emotions or you know talk about till I tell stories.

Christian Mccarrick:
[42:38] Certainly not in my Irish Catholic.

Edmond Lau:
[42:42] I’m really sort of what I would have learned is that all these girls are like some more practice.
It takes access to you know having like good abstractions and good Frameworks which is there why don’t you and I are focused on.
Trying to Skrillex but still the core of know what we’ve learned from coaching in over a hundred people running from lifetech leader managers directors MVPs and videos really wants us to still.
All things we learned into these are simple Concepts.
Are simple but I really powerful because you can really start to learn them and you can really short see the difference before and after of what you’re able to do then you start really believing in.
Good idea that you actually had can have a growth mindset towards these like software skills and that’s probably one of the biggest takeaways.

Christian Mccarrick:
[43:37] Yeah and I’m such an awesome point on it because it’s on the reasons I could have I started this podcast is that.
Expose people to engineering leaders that are out there today.
That to know that they didn’t all go to Stanford and they didn’t know I work at Google and they didn’t all follow this.
You know prescriptive path to become a VP of engineering receipt to avoid that to get there you can come from any background right from any company of any size and to learn these skills you’re talking about right it’s really about,
they’re not predestined to become.
The VP of engineering or XYZ right that you talked about the growth mindset and how I think how important that is and even with my my kids now it’s so it’s something I really try to do and I got coach Sports 2 and its really that you’re not.
I hate Michael say I’m just not good at that right.
Maybe you’re not good at it today doesn’t mean you can’t even look at these people who it sounds like what it came naturally to them but.
There’s no overnight success in all these cases right they practice for years whether it’s public speaking with a raspy Steve Jobs and people don’t realize he practiced obsessively for hours and hours for every one of his speeches.
When you gave it it came off like it was effortless but it really wasn’t and that’s such a big thing I’m trying to get my listeners donors.

Edmond Lau:
[44:51] Yeah and I think that’s that’s like one of the.
Big values that you’re providing with with your podcast if it’s in a lot of people in the Mansion trolls.
Can feel like they’re up there they’re kind of being alone right like they’re at their like I’ve been this during may be a new manager they don’t know how to do it they don’t know who to reach out to.
I think one of the Revival Services you provide your podcast is to help normalize the fact that you know there are other people in their situation so I guess it’s actually not there I could not alone.
Like everyone is are going through the same the same experiences and you know if there is no bike bicycle.
Collecting or building Community around would like these best practices,
we are in the back being better off we’re no longer for strong alone but we can go to listen to now there is gas at you have on on the show and really start to pick up on you know what are those things that have helped the other people in their career what are the things that they’re stumbling with,
if you like. You know you’re not alone in this.

Christian Mccarrick:
[45:55] Absolutely,
it is only 2 weeks we talked about that almost every other guest I talk about talks about that yeah it made it is kind of lonely being the manager and the leader and that little at the higher to get the lonely recast,
could you have less and less peers that can do that with you you don’t finally have been I ask, I guess there’s any resources,
books anything else that you would recommend existing engineering managers and leaders to as a reference to maybe if you think it’s good out there.
I’m a defective engineer have a sale I’ll put in the show notes okay for the years that you know you recommended to other managers would not that you think is a good word for resource.

Edmond Lau:
[46:32] Yeah you think.

[47:02] Took a long list of my and my Kindle.

[47:06] Some some of the books that come to mind the manager path book.

[47:19] I mean one window that was really inspirational for me was to Andrew grows like a high output management is really great book.

Christian Mccarrick:
[47:31] I think those are too kind of one or more of the seminal book and the other one I think quickly becoming a defacto you know read for for new injury managers.
Well thank you very much for your time on the show or I had a great conversation with you today and hope my I listen to he’s got some very interesting information about you know the passes of being a knee during leaders and with the state of it today so thank you very much.

Edmond Lau:
[47:55] Golf Course was fun.

Christian Mccarrick:
[47:56] Thank you.

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