Good feedback and longterm jigsaw puzzles with manager Ben Sheldon

Name: Ben Sheldon
Role: Engineering Manager
Company: Code for America
SNYAM cohort: 07- Berkeley 2019

The hardest thing I’ve ever encountered as a manager is: 

Cultivating intentional relationships across the organization. Working in a relatively flat organization, my “Team Number One” of fellow managers is very broad, from marketing to product to HR. Building trust with my peers, getting coffee, and understanding their personal and professional goals, is a longterm jigsaw puzzle. 

If you’re thinking about moving into management, do this first:

Gut check your own satisfaction with your motivations, career development plans, and goal tracking system. You need to be able to own that for yourself to be successful at managing it for others.

I take care of myself by:

Taking every opportunity to tell people that something they did made me happy, curious, or excited. Having that intention helps me be more aware of my positive emotions, even in difficult situations. It took me many years to learn this.

Here’s a practical tip about managing:

Take to heart “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” Good feedback is focused feedback, and it’s ok if no one sees all the edits you discarded to get there.

Managing people is like…

There is nothing else like managing people. People are people, and in the best way, mostly. 

And finally…

If you’d like to work with me, Code for America is hiring an Engineering Manager and you can apply here.

Want to attend a manager training where you’ll learn management as a creative practice? Join us at an upcoming event… details here.