How Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer Unlocks Creativity in His Engineers
Facebook’s C.T.O., Mike Schroepfer, has developed an engineering culture at Facebook that’s open, collaborative, and creatively autonomous一values that are key to driving a real-world impact.
Here’s how he does it:
Remove roadblocks that hinder creative thinking
Many assume that one cannot teach creativity. But Schroepfer believes that leaders can help remove the common roadblocks that restrain employee creativity. This way, employees can open up new value propositions and an abundance of opportunities.
He recommends staying curious: “Ask questions even if you think you know the answer. Creating anything interesting requires teamwork, so any time you help someone do their best work is time well spent.” And in the process, if you encounter a problem, don’t be afraid to test your ideas. Make stress testing a norm in your operations.
The Facebook C.T.O. believes that creative engineering happens when people don’t feel bound and have the freedom to think, imagine, and create. And for creativity to flourish in a business environment, team members need to internalize a company’s vision and strategy.
Build a company culture where information flows freely
There is no set model for problems that arise during projects and no step-by-step process to obtain answers in today’s world. Hence, the ability to utilize resources creatively becomes vital. And this can only be made possible through open communication and free flow of information.
Schroepfer believes leaders must provide team members with as much information, context, and clarity as possible so that they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities. People are as innovative as you allow them to be. And thus, if you let your team chase their ‘aha moments,’ you’ll soon find yourself with a more dynamic and creative workplace.
In addition, organizations should have a robust training program to help managers learn how to push aside roadblocks, give feedback, and support teams to operate effectively and collaboratively at scale.
Share your optimism with the team and equip them well
Leaders should channel their positivity to the employees. They should leverage technology to enable team members to participate in the decision-making process fully. This way, they’re motivated and aligned with the company’s mission.
Schroepfer explains: “The most important thing in my life is people, and at Facebook, people are at the center of everything we do. I try to help my teams see the potential for technology to bring communities together in new ways and enable them to build deeper connections. I’m very optimistic that technology can pave a path for a better future. And I share this optimism with my teams as a way to motivate them to come to work every day and make a real difference in peoples’ lives.”
It is equally important to equip your team members with the right tools and technology to enable them to think and create collaboratively at scale. Training programs and workshops are great ways to hone employee skills.
A good leader seeks to engage their team and work together towards a shared objective. Where engineers are required to recognize, validate, and solve problems independently or through day-to-day teamwork, engineering leaders, on the other hand, need to make a material impact through transparency, vision, and strong mentorship. Efficient unblocking rituals, cultures promoting open communication, and a positive outlook can help upcoming remote engineering leaders around the globe achieve just that.
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