Whe I started my career, my first boss on my first day told another engineer:
Are you doing anything useful or are you just breathing my air?
He then later turned to me and informed me that there was this five year rule. And I asked what is the five year rule?
And he said:
You keep your mouth shut for five years.
And so I learned to model that behavior. I thought being a technology leader meant being a dick.
And then I met Scott Schoenthal at NetApp and learned that you could be a polite civil and compassionate leader. That being nice was a better way to lead. That ripping people to shreds, publicly shaming them, calling them names wasn’t the only way you could get your point across.
I didn’t always model my behavior after Scott – Lord knows how many rants I produced in this life …but I am glad I learned about that other way to lead.
As an engineer it’s easy to see the cantankerous asshole email and say: I want to the guy who writes that email. Writing that email means you arrived. It means you are the man.
Except it doesn’t. It means you are an asshole. You are reveling in your ability to abuse someone who is defenseless. You are modeling poor behavior.
Just Don’t Do It.
Scott Schoenthal was the first person to show me another way….