The Impossible Job

Being a great leader is a difficult job. While not impossible, it certainly feels that way at times. Many leaders have received little to no formal management training and getting started can seem overwhelming. Michael Lopp, VP of Engineering at Slack, lays out a set of sixteen hacks you can use to make the job a little bit easier.

This is the one of a ten-part series covering the sessions from Calibrate 2016, an engineering leadership conference held on September 30, 2016 in San Francisco.

If you’re unsure what a hack is, Lopp writes, “…a hack is a clever or unexpectedly efficient means of getting something done,” and the hacks he presents are nothing short of unexpectedly efficient. Here are a couple that I found myself applying immediately after seeing the talk:

Two minutes early. For everything.

This hack is as effective as it is simple. Always arriving at a meeting on time sets the tone for everyone else. It shows that you have respect for everyone’s time. If you’re consistently showing up a couple minutes late, you’re paying the people who arrived on time to browse the internet.

Three questions for every meeting.

Before every meeting, Lopp suggests preparing three questions. This is valuable in multiple ways. It puts you in the right mindset and it makes you look more prepared. Sometimes you finish a topic and idle for a moment before deciding to end the meeting early. Having these questions prepared can combat that lull and get the most out of every meeting.

Check out Michael’s talk The Impossible Job for more!