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3 Openhearted Behaviors That Will Make Your Team show Extreme Ownership

3 Openhearted Behaviors That Will Make Your Team show Extreme Ownership
By lucianohgo • Issue #17 • View online

Hi there,
Last week we talked about how Extreme Ownership makes Product teams more effective. How it’s great to work in a context where everyone is focused on the results and on making each other more awesome, but we didn’t explore how we can do that for our teams.
This week’s issue is dedicated behaviors, values, and tools that we can use to foster ownership and get better results. We’ll get to know Matt, a brilliant manager who’s struggling with his team, and learn more about helping people grow, how to foster, nurture and support new ideas in our teams and how to make people independent.
3 Openhearted Behaviors That Will Make Your Team show Extreme Ownership
Matt is a long-time manager known for being technically savvy. He was once one of the best Engineers in Acme Corp. He’s one of the oldest engineers in the company and has in-depth experience with many of the services, technologies, and projects that got the company to where it is. Matt has personally built or led teams that created many of them. Known for having very high standards for quality, he’s quick to dismiss ideas that do not meet that bar.
Matt prides himself on being an excellent asset to the company. His experience allows him to nudge technical and product decisions on many different parts of the organization. He relies on that experience to give feedback on ideas and identify tools his team should build based on these discussions. He protects his team from being in these meetings to provide them with as much time possible to focus. 
On paper, Matt is a fantastic leader. He has relationships that allow his team to move quickly. His direct reports are always shielded from meetings and have ample time to build. But lately, Matt has faced serious challenges:
  • Ideas from the team have dried up
  • His best engineers are not growing or meaningfully contributing to Acme’s tools and Platform
  • When Matt’s directs are assigned to work with other managers, they soon go from being high performers to start failing
  • Motivation and Energy on the team have begun dropping
But what’s the problem here? Surely being a technical expert, keeping a high-quality bar, and shielding the team from meetings are good ideas. We know that to be a fact since we see many articles telling us to do precisely that. What we’ve failed to see so far is that Matt is also:
  1. Not allowing people from his team to be seen and perform as experts by always being the go-to person. 
  2. Not creating a safe environment for people to share by shooting down ideas before people have the chance to Clarify them.
  3. Making the company dependent on him, but especially making his employees dependent on him.
These behaviors directly impact aspects that are critical for the team to be effective: Ownership and Psychological Safety. When people work long enough in an environment where it’s not safe to share and don’t feel challenged, Motivation, Energy, and effectiveness are bound to drop. So how do we fix that?
Read more:
3 Openhearted Behaviors That Will Make Your Team show Extreme Ownership
Further Content
Having impact in engineering by supporting other people's ideas | LeadDev
re:Work - Guide: Understand team effectiveness
Shaping engineering leadership through letting go | LeadDev
Thanks for Reaching This Far 🤗
If you have any feedbacks &/or ideas for the next issues please send it to me and I’ll make sure to read and act on it.
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Weekly, I write and explore topics on Building a Career in Tech, Leadership, and Creating awesome User Experiences. I'm a Senior Software Engineering Manager at QuintoAndar a (very) fast-growing Startup in Brazil. I was a partner in a Software House in the past, worked at AWS, and learned a lot from great leaders and peers along the way. I tap on that experience to decide topics, research them weekly and compile what I've learned so you can avoid making some of the mistakes that I did.

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