Aw man. The post came a week’s late because I was really busy for the past week at work. It’s the start of second quarter of 2019. What have I been doing for the past three months? Gosh. Why does time passes so fast as you grow older?
I took care of a dog last month for 2 weeks! Taking care of a dog is pretty straightforward. Life of a dog is really simple. She will be extremely happy when you give food, water and lots of love.
This makes me realise that I will really love to have a dog with me. I went home almost everyday earlier because I want to spend more time with her.
My family loves dogs! I think it’s the kind of like 不是我的不用顾 case but I’m glad that my parents seem to be getting along with her. I might be able to convince my parents to let me get one in the household :)
Last month, I finished reading “How to be a technical leader” by Geral M. Weinberg and a book by the Nike founder (Phil Knight), “Shoe Dog”.
The former book talks about how the author has transformed from an individual contributor to a technical leader successfully. He put up many good points to iterate the differences between the two roles. At the end of each chapter, he posted a couple of good questions that really help me think through my current situation.
The latter book talks about how Phil Knight started his empire after he finished his degree. It’s very interesting to see how he has managed to evolve from a “small” import company (not exactly small… 1.3 millions annual sales) to an empire of his own in the western part of the world.
I mentioned that the leadership book has helped in my current situation. Well, that’s because I have been assigned a new role last month and it caught me by surprise. And I think I’m not the only one who are caught by surprises.
Over the last 18 months in this job, I have learned a lot to deal with both people and difficult situations. Each situation or people has to be dealt with different behaviors. Some are extremely nice if you are lucky but in certain moment you will need to step up and make sure you find a way to get the message through.
The author of the book has accurately written down some personal experiences that I can relate right now, which I thought I will share here for my future references…
I was surrounded by people who followed my lead because they saw that I could solve technical problems that nobody else could have.
For the past 12 years, I studied and have been working in a male-dominance industry. As a female and with a face that looks like a 16 years old teenager, I received many non-verbal feedback that question my skills and experiences. It’s also not helpful at all for myself to be short. I remembered my poly lecturer scrutinized my height when my friend suggested to get me as the course’s ambassador. Hah.
I learned from my experiences that I have to work really hard and prove that I can solve problems that nobody else could have. Working hard is easy (hah) but proving that I’m better than anybody is difficult. Then again, I can’t control what my interns, peers and bosses think about me. The only thing that I can control freely is my knowledge, behaviors and thought processes.
Over these years, I find that people start to believe and follow my lead through conversations… or mentoring sessions. I share what I know and give my best advice to guide my peers what is needed to solve problems and move our innovation to the next level. When people takes my advice and solve their technical problems, they know that I’m a real deal. Apart from these sessions, I continue to deliver concrete results to prove that I’m not someone who “say and do nothing about it”.
By and large, these situations naturally allow me to earn respects from most people around me. Most, because I think I still have not convinced those who have extremely high ego yet. Hah!
The point is: you have to work hard to prove your worth… and I believe people will naturally follow your lead thereafter.
If people don’t want your help, you’ll never succeed in helping them.
It takes two hands to clap: one to agree to receive help and the other to agree to help.
I find that there is no point to help if the other party misintepreted your intention to help. It happens very often… and my verdict is I should adjust my expectation and re-read into why I want to help. Everyone helps with a reason. It could be a selfless one or it could be for your own good. If I realised that I have no benefits or disadvantages from not helping, I will stop wasting my energy to help.
Even as a technical leader, you can only offer your help if and only if the other party is receptive. If this is a hindrance to your project, then you will need to find other ways to remove the boulders from the path.
One of the hardest choices for technical stars who become leaders is losing touch with the latest in technology.
We have to face the fact that once we make a choice to move up to be a technical leader, we need to give up some work to our members and trust that they will be able to deliver the work.
Recently, I have let go of my reverse engineering work and empower my student to work on it. As a fresh poly graduate, he has little experience in this area so I have to spend time to guide him to the right track. Well, I guess I’m really lucky in a sense that my student absorbs fast and tends to solve problem systematically. He has been really amazing theses two weeks as he started delivering some results from his research work during his internship. You know, it’s like growing the seeds patiently and one day it suddenly blooms with beautiful flowers.
As an individual contributor, we deliver and become the stars of the team. But as technical leaders, we need to creates an environment to empower the rest of the members in the team to work their best and deliver the outcome. It is not possible to retain the same working method, snatch the fanciful work from our own members and continue to aim to be a technical star.
I started to write in a book at least once a week. It helps to gather my thoughts and summarize how I felt the week could be better in time to come. While I do share some of the personal experiences in this blog, certain events or problems ought to be kept private.
Two of my friends wrote in a book. I thought I can try to see if this can work for me too :)
Got myself 5 books from Taobao… and they look like 武林秘籍. Loving them haha.