After reading One Bold Move a Day I decided to create a checklist for my coaching interactions. This includes being coached as well as a template for those I plan to coach. This checklist is a work in progress and will be updated as I learn more about coaching and leadership.
Something I’ve been doing for a while now has been to provide a weekly update to my manager. This update includes a list of wins and accolades. I’ve found this to be a great way to keep track of my accomplishments and to help me remember them when it comes time for my annual review. The gist is that you create an update to manage up which takes no longer than 15 minutes to create and no longer than 5 minutes to read.
You might find that you cover all this in your 1:1s with your manager. It may be that this is good enough for you or your manager. For other’s in organizations where there’s a lot of competition, writing this out on a weeky basis is a great way to advocate for yourself week over week and make writing your yearly review easier.
To build this out, I’ve decided to use the 5x15 format. Here’s an example template:
Name: <Your Name> Week Ending: <Date> ## Are you planning to work next week, from <day> to </day>? Yes. If no, why not? ## Accomplishments for the week: - Project 1 - Company's Culture - Organization's Culture: Culture Item 1 - Team's Culture: Culture Item 1 - My weekly contribution 1 - My weekly contribution 2 - My weekly contribution 3 - B1: Culture Item 2 - My weekly contribution 1 - My weekly contribution 2 - My weekly contribution 3 - B1: Culture Item 3 - Organization's Culture: Culture Item 2 - Team's: Culture Item 1 - My weekly contribution 1 ## Priorities for next week: - Priority 1 - Priority 2 - Priority 3 ## Stats: - Energy level: low, medium, high + direction of change - QOL: low, medium, high + direction of change - Credibility: low, medium, high + direction of change ## Planned PTO: - <Date> - <Date> ... ## Examples, screenshots, etc.. - example 1 - example 2
Are you planning to work next week, from
This helps your manager know if you’re planning to take time off. If you are, it shouldn’t be a surprise to them. As a manager, a gentle reminder about who will be unavailable can be helpful when you’re reflecting on the past week or looking forward to the next.
Accomplishments for the week
This is where you list your wins and accolades as organized by your company’s culture, your organization’s culture, and your team’s culture. Sometimes these items may not have alignment. This could be an opportunity to discuss this with your manager and see how better alignment could be achieved.
Not everyone’s comfortable with self-promotion. This is a great way to practice.
Priorities for next week
Keep this simple. List your top 3 priorities for the next week. This is a great way to keep your manager informed of what you’re working on and to help you stay focused on what’s important. If you’re not sure what your priorities are, this is a great opportunity to discuss this with your manager.
This is a great way to keep track vital stats of your work persona.
“Different people are engergized or exhausted by different things.”3 This is a way to keep your manager informed of what’s going on in your work and/or your life. Good managers will use this information to help you be successful, perhaps providing the opportunity to coast during low energy times or to take on more challenging work during periods of high energy.
Quality of Life
How is the work/life balance? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you feeling bored? How are you enjoying your projects and the people you’re working with? Not everything is going to be perfect all the time. Often times we can’t change the situation, but we can change our perspective. Answers to how your mental or physical health could also be inputs here. Good managers often can help with challenging situations or provide perspective to get through them. Looking for the positive in a situation can help us get through times when QOL is lower.
“You can build credibility by solving hard problems, being visibly competent and consistently showing good technical judgment.”4
The approach I take here is to determine how much trust others have in what I share for technical solutions. Some resources might also consider this to be part of Social Capital, but my feeling is that Credibility and Social Capital are so integral that these are parts of the same thing.
- Keep a list of wins and accolades to help you remember your accomplishments. Do this daily.
- Provide your manager with a 5x15 update every week. Include wins and accolades. This is a weekly practice.
- Focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t. This is a daily practice.
- Use data to support your work and decisions. This is a daily practice.
- Change your perspective. Look at the situation from a different angle. This is a daily practice.
- Offer compassion to yourself and others. You don’t know what’s going in someone else’s life so give them some space for grace. This is a daily practice.
- Measure your stats. This is a weekly practice.
- What compliments do you hear frequently?
- What projects bring you energy? When do you feel most fulfilled at work?
- Do you feel like you have enough time to do your work at a level of quality that you’re proud of?
- Are you finding that you have enough time for things outside of work that are important to you?
- How are your peers receiving your work? Do you feel like you’re making a positive impact?
Orosz, Gergely. The Software Engineer’s Guidebook: Navigating senior, techlead, and stagg engineer positions at tech companies and starups. (p. 38). Pragmatic Engineer BV, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ↩︎
Reilly, Tanya. The Staff Engineer’s Path: A guide for individual contributors navigating growth and change. (p. 121). O’Reilly Media, Inc. ↩︎
Reilly, Tanya. The Staff Engineer’s Path: A guide for individual contributors navigating growth and change. (p. 123). O’Reilly Media, Inc. ↩︎
Hocking, Shanna A. One Bold Move a Day: Meaningful Actions Women can take to fulfill their Leadership and Career Potential (p. 29-32). McGraw-Hill ↩︎