Welcome to the first in a new series that features some of my favorite, most thought provoking tweets, why they’re important, and what we can learn from them!
Novall Swift: Uplift Your Team!
Our second tweet comes from Novall Swift, Engineer at Apple. I’ve noticed Novall recently taking to Twitter to openly discuss an array of topics related to workplace culture and I found this one particularly engaging!
ALT: A more senior member of my team told me he learned something from me and I can't even begin to describe how happy this makes me feel.
At many points in my career, I’ve benefited from the guidance of those I work with: both those in positions more senior than me, as well as those at my level, and even those who might be considered “less experienced” than me. Mentorship takes many forms, from informal interactions such as the one Novall points out, or it can come in the form of structured relationships within a workplace.
While formal mentorship relationships can be invaluable, those in the workplace should still be willing to reach out to others to offer help, and to offer praise and encouragement where appropriate.
And while this seems so simple and obvious, with the prevalence of remote work, and the workload of many developers, informal mentorship is less common than it probably should be.
Take, for example, Andi Rohn’s response, pointing out that she tends to find senior engineers less willing to offer help than their junior counterparts. Andi suggests that senior developers’ skills often become “ossified” or set in stone, which I would take to mean that those skills are difficult to share as seniors may be less willing to engage in the conversations where skill sharing takes place.
ALT: I always learn more from "junior" engineers. You can learn from anyone if you keep an open mind. "Senior" engineers often become ossified in their own knowledge and skills. I think part of this is mental bias where the constantly have to position themselves as "superior".
But what I like most about Andi’s response is that observation that “You can learn from anyone if you keep an open mind.” which is completely true. We often think of mentorship as being a traditionally hierarchical dynamic where someone more senior helps someone less so. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
I am constantly learning new ideas and concepts- technical and otherwise- from people who are traditionally less “senior” than myself. Mentorship can, and should be symbiotic- where people at all steps in their careers are able to bring something to the table.
The most important thing, however, is just getting started. And I definitely recommend starting with noticing the work of the people around you- especially those less senior than yourself- and be willing to offer your help and praise, as Novall suggests!
Thanks so much for checking out this week’s “Ladyleet’s Favorite Tweets”! Hope to see you for the next one!