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Lara Hogan on leading effectively in a pandemic

Lead Time Chats: Season 1, Episode 6 Takeaways

March 31, 2021

In Episode 6 of Lead Time Chats, Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, talks with Lara Hogan, author of Resilient Management, about how engineering managers can lead effectively a year into a global pandemic, even when they may be struggling.

Jean and Lara chat about:

  • Leaning into one-way asynchronous communication as much as possible — especially for announcements and status updates that don’t require a back-and-forth
  • Using Red-Yellow-Green check-ins in 1:1s and other situations to make it as lightweight as humanly possible to check in on your coworkers
  • Making sure your oxygen mask is on first so that you can help others
  • Defragging your calendar!

You can access Lara's Defrag Your Calendar worksheet here.

Takeaways from Lara

Put your oxygen mask on first so that you can support your team

I definitely had people that I worked with I just cared so deeply for, and I just ended up worrying about them off hours. And for so many managers, how do you turn that off? It's a good instinct, but again, I like to reframe it as, okay, you need to be a teammate for all of these people, not just this one person. This comes up in like normal performance review conversations too. Like how much time are we spending working with somebody who needs a lot of our attention versus everybody we need to be supporting right now. I can make sure my oxygen mask is on so that I can also be available and useful to everybody else who needs to lean on me too.

The impact of the pandemic on different people has been a surprise

Some people thought this would be really catastrophic and upend their lives, and they've been flourishing during this time. And other people were like, I'm prepared, I'm great during crises, but this is a marathon, right? So it's been really interesting, both for the managers themselves and for their teams. Everything is a surprise for everybody.  It's been a lot of, okay, given that what we prepared for, what we expected or how I thought it would be is not truly what's happened. What do I do now? How do I pivot? How do I get over the surprise?

5pm Zoom Happy Hour? No thank you.

Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, managers were like let's make like a happy hour. Let's all hang out. Like we're all isolated. Let's be together. I mean, what a well-intentioned terrible... no, everybody's drained. Zoom fatigue is a thing. And a lot of people had so many other commitments. Thank you for the intention, but like not going to work for me.

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About Lead Time Chats

Listen in on unscripted conversations between Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range and engineering leadership coach, and engineering leaders and other influential folks in tech.

Lead Time Chats is brought to you by Range. Range helps hybrid teams check-in asynchronously about what matters most. Know what's happening through status updates that pull from tools like Github and JIRA without scheduling yet another meeting.

Checking-in with Range creates more focus time for heads-down work, all while feeling a deeper sense of connection and belonging with your team. To learn more about Range, you can check it out here.

S1 E6: Lara Hogan on leading effectively in a pandemic
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