My manager Readme

June 14, 2019

About Me

Hi, I’m Xavier (I go by X). I was born in France and, after visiting pretty much every corner of the Hexagon and starting an electrical engineering degree in Paris, I went on to complete my Master of Science in Computer Science in England at the Staffordshire University.

I came to the United States a dozen years ago and been sucked up into the energetic New York grind ever since. I started my journey as a front-end contributor on a white label day trading platform and worked my way through several start-ups using technologies I usually learned on the spot and during my spare time. As a result, the pragmatism I developed makes me value the craftsmanship required to put together maintainable and scalable systems.

Over the years, I learned a lot about myself and what my work style is. Hopefully, this guide helps you figuring me out and optimize our collaboration. Happy reading!

Staying Connected and Aligned

I am a straight shooter. I probably inherited this bluntness from my ancestors as French people seem to possess the ability to be (hyper) critical and to call things out the way they see them. This radical honesty is critical to maintaining my integrity and is never intended to be interpreted as a personal attack. Acknowledging our mistakes is the first steps to understand the causes and learn from them so we may avoid running into that obstacle again.

I expect the same bluntness from others. In the book Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink explains that, despite our best assets, we are all humans and prone to failure. Great strengths come along with blindsides that can hinder performances, and enabling your collaborators to keep you accountable allow them to be on the lookout for the errors you will eventually commit.

For these reasons, I welcome people challenging my opinions as this is the best way we can quickly get to compare ideas and come up with a better plan. I do not care how things get done as much as I care about things getting done.

As an engineering team manager, I welcome all avenues for feedback and exchange. I understand that people with different mindsets and personalities will communicate differently. I will try to figure out what works best with you and will help the group work together as a whole.

Instant communication such as Slack and private conversation are usually appropriate to share instant needs for tie-breaking decision and sorting priorities on the spot. However, I encourage people to put together their thoughts within a more extended form (emails, wiki documentation, whitepapers, slideshows, presentations) when the subject matter requires a calmer mindset so all can understand the full picture.

For meetings, I prefer the agenda and the expected outcome to be set forth ahead of time so that everyone can come prepared with the context in mind. Despite this preparation, if you feel that you need time, it is ok to push back and propose a better timeline.

My Expectations for You

Let’s start with the easy one: I do not expect you to know everything about everything. I consider all team member as infinitely intelligent individuals without a full understanding of our tech stack or feature list. I encourage you to consider doing the same as it will help you always to provide the proper context and define clear expectation ahead of a discussion so that everyone has the opportunity to weigh in before making decisions.

Regardless of your level, here are the things I believe are good traits of character to succeed in any team:

  • question things that are unclear until there are no doubts left (you might help clarify things for others too!) be kind and support one another (collaboration is key to foster a stronger team culture)
  • hold each other accountable to their commitments respect your obligations (and manage those expectations when things get in the way - life happens!)
  • be actively engaged in the team decisions (the more point of views, the better the options!)
  • challenge the status quo (speak up when things are not going as we know they should)
  • do not merely pinpoint the problems, be a force of proposition to fix them! That being said, depending on your level, your degree of involvement will differ slightly with each one of those.

My Expectations for the Team

The integrity of the team is a direct result of the sum of the integrity of the individuals that constitute it. Leadership does not consist in the few people up the chain telling others down the chain what to do and how to do it. Leadership is the ability for everyone within a group to trust one another in their ability to:

  • to embody the values that define the group,
  • to hold other members of the group accountable when they are “betraying” those values. We are all human, and we make mistakes. We are here to help each other stay the course at all time so that the team can perform at its best always.

As a consequence, I expect the team to decide what are the values it represents. I then hope these values to be sustained and demonstrated in the way the team sets goals for itself, commits and hold itself accountable to its goals. Celebrating the wins and analyze the losses and guarantee the integrity of the group.

What I Value

Amongst other things, what I value most is:

  • Integrity: Having the ability to hold oneself accountable to a commitment (to an outcome or a value) is something I highly regard. It requires a clear definition of that commitment and the management of the associated expectations. Furthermore, and regardless of the outcome, it represents one’s ability to own up to the result, reflect on the performance, and make the necessary adjustments moving forward.
  • Humility: No-one is too good to do what needs to get done. Especially if that means that you need to get down in the trenches to help the team achieve its outcome. I encourage you to read more on the “sweep the shed” culture that the New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team has developed throughout the years, which exemplify the result of such a cultural trait.
  • Self-improvement: The World around us moves fast! The tech world we live in even faster, and we need to be able to translate the latest advancement in our domain in ways that provide an edge for our team and the company. In this day and age, one can not afford to turn a blind eye to the up and coming trends in web technologies as well as organizational changes required for us to grow. A big part of your job is to stay curious about what is happening around you and help the team stay up to date by sharing back!
  • Helping one another: We are a group with different perspectives and priorities in each one of our lives. Our motivations differ from one another, but we all have to pull in the same direction. As a result, some team members will need help leveling up so that they can reach the vantage point required for us to make a better decision as a group.


I am a big fan of the Radical Candor framework when it comes to management style, and I want to encourage you to read the excerpt around feedback.

That said, I have no preference regarding the feedback I expect to get from you. I want you to feel comfortable sharing with me as you see fit (Slack, email, 1-1).

However, here are a few things I would like to encourage you to think about when providing/soliciting feedback:

  • Slack me for notifications that require my urgent attention and that need to be addressed immediately.
  • Emails usually help people think about things more thoroughly before they express their point of view. For sensitive topics or after intense debates, I find it useful to write my thoughts and perception on a given subject in some way and then walk away from it (do not send!) to give my brain some time to digest it. After a little time has passed, I then make the necessary adjustments to what I originally wrote. The outcome is often better and more productive.
  • 1-1 are a sacred time that I have with you as this is when I have the opportunity to understand better what your goals are as an engineer and how I can help you to achieve those. I guarantee you my full attention during that time. We can optimize this time if you come prepared to discuss the topics that are your priority. Try to keep the team/tech things out of 1-1s. I intend to follow-up on all action items by the next 1-1.

How I Work

As an individual contributor

I tend to be very intense and very focused when I am working. I ask many questions until I am sure I understand things entirely regardless of how it might make me look. I found out that when I do not complete that due diligence and start assuming things, it leads to poor decision making that have adverse side effects that we can avoid.

On the other hand, this tends to exacerbate some negative traits of mine and shut down people uneasy with a direct challenge. I will attempt to provide as much context as possible to help you understand my point of view and comprehend the solution I am proposing.

Do not hesitate to challenge me! Even when I am passionate, I am always ready to reconsider my point of view by a sound counter-argument.

As a manager

Some of the points mentioned above still hold in this context. The way I intend to work with the group is by making sure we follow the “Listen, Challenge, Commit” rule:

  • Listen: make sure that we heard about everyone in the group who has a point of view to share,
  • Challenge: allow everyone to express themselves and provide feedback on the goals, plans and action items set forth by other members,
  • Commit: guarantee that, despite disagreements, the whole group comes up with a decision, and everyone commits to it.

My Interests

Here are a few things I enjoy, in no particular order:

  • Physical fitness: I found out that I need to follow up a routine involving daily exercise for me to be as sharp as I need to be. That routine is usually a priority of mine to make sure that I expend the overflow of energy I tend to enjoy. Currently, I am on a Jiu Jitsu mastery journey and often devote time to Yoga and Indoor Cycling.
  • Travel: I enjoy discovering new cultures and get a first-hand experience of how differently people live throughout the world. My wife and I usually pick up a week in the year (sometimes two) to get away and get as authentic of an experience as we can get. We often come back with a fresh new perspective on our situation and how thankful we should be daily.
  • Outdoors: hikes, paddle board, archery, road trip, camping. I have lived a childhood in the mountains of the French volcanic area, and I need to get back to those roots often.
  • Music: deeply love many kinds of music, from Rap to Reggea, through Classical and Country, even things you probably never heard of… shamelessly!

Final Words

I hope this document has provided enough insights about me to help you understand better how we can work together.

I know we are all humans and that, despite my best intentions, I might make choices that compromise my values and those of the team. In such event, I count on you to hold me accountable and give me a chance to restore my integrity and amend this document accordingly.

Xavier Lozinguez

Written by Xavier Lozinguez who lives and works in New Jersey (sometimes) building useful things. You should follow him on Twitter