On Management and Leadership

“While I have not had the privilege of managing any engineers, I often find myself leading engineers in various capacities.” This is why I found Cornelia Davis’s presentation “On Management and Leadership” so impactful. Cornelia is a Senior Director of Platform Engineering at Pivotal working on the Cloud Foundry team. In her 25 years of experience, she has probably managed “less than she can count on [her] two hands”, but she exudes leadership qualities. Cornelia simplified her approach to leadership into seven easily digestible concepts. All the concepts are great, and I picked my top three to dig into.

This is the eleventh of a twelve-part series covering the sessions from Calibrate, an engineering leadership conference held September, 2015 in San Francisco.

Find Your Passion

The word choice for this concept is very important. Cornelia explains that it’s important to “go outside your comfort zone to find your passion.” I’m very lucky to have found my passion in technology and when I’m excited about a subject, people definitely listen. Cornelia also mentions that it’s important “to go outside your comfort zone to find your passion”. I believe this to be really important and leads right into my next favorite leadership concept.

Say Yes (A Lot!)

It’s very easy to get set in our ways and not be willing to try new things. I used to be the type of person to say “no” when I was asked to do something I wasn’t comfortable with. When I changed my initial reaction to a “yes”, I found myself doing things I wouldn’t have even have considered before, but almost always having a great experience.

Shake Things Up*

Sometimes just saying yes isn’t quite enough. Sometimes you have to seek out the experiences you want to have. I find when I get outside of my comfort zone, it sparks my curiosity, which enhances my passion, and now I’ve created a perpetual leadership machine!

To learn about the rest of Cornelia’s leadership principles and hear lots of great anecdotes, be sure to check out her talk.