Management and coaching best practices

A list of 20 things

Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito [Public domain]

This list reflects my personal opinions on the matter, along with manners I learned from the outstanding managers and classes at Twitter and beyond.


  1. Value focus and do what you can to maximize it.
  2. Value long-term ownership. Quality and invention stem from long planning horizons.
  3. Give credit where it’s due; encourage everyone to do the same.
  4. Promotions and shoutouts are an implicit announcement of your values; use these levers to incentivize towards those values. Be wary that without full clarity on your decision-making process, these actions could backfire, signaling your incompetence in the assessment of skills and contributions.
  5. Encourage collaboration.
  6. Never be the source of division — “divide-and-conquer” works until people realize they are being played.
  7. Take notes and be detail-oriented; similarly, make sure to express yourself clearly and with detail.
  8. Follow up and show clear progress towards addressing concerns and removing obstacles. This is an important part of the job.
  9. Never talk down.
  10. Challenge assumptions and push towards solutions that lead to wins for both the business and the customers, both today and in the long run.
  11. Treat everyone with the utmost respect, every single day.
  12. Hire and don’t be intimidated by people smarter than yourself—they worked hard to get here and they make you look good.
  13. Allow yourself to learn from everyone; allow your mind to be changed.
  14. Appreciate everyone’s experiences and points of view. The elusive business-saving innovation can come from anyone—create processes that allow for the incorporation and implementation of those ideas. This is the more cost-effective approach when compared with the alternatives.
  15. A smile goes a long way.
  16. Never let the team know or show that you’re under pressure; they might mistake it for your frustrations with something that they have done.
  17. Continually express and renew your trust with team members.
  18. Give feedback and promotions without being asked—this is the more cost-effective approach when compared with the alternatives.
  19. Believe that everyone can achieve the impossible and let them know; the results will continually surprise you.
  20. In every conundrum, strive to seek resolutions, identify upsides, and make it work. It’s always going to be crazy.

Let me know what you think! What are some best practices I am missing?

Update. I received some good feedback on Twitter that I include here. Please keep them coming.

I changed my mind about joining a startup once they hired their first woman engineer. Representation matters!
Many good points here.

Update 2. Many thanks to Ben Thompson for featuring this article on GitPrime. And thanks to Dmitriy Ryaboy for telling me about it!