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How do I lead without authority?

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Staff Software Engineer [E6] at Meta2 years ago

I'm a new staff engineer at Meta, and I know that the bar is high for E6. In particular, an E6 needs to be able to have a large influence on the roadmap and team charter, leading and creating very substantial projects.

All that being said, I want to start crafting and executing that vision as soon as I can to hit the ground running, but I'm unsure on exactly how to do that with Meta's more bottoms-up culture. At my previous job, things were more top-down (i.e. leading with authority, where software engineers work on things because their manager/leadership tells them to). How do I lead the team with this almost opposite engineering culture?



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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 years ago

    The bottoms-up culture is definitely something that can take a while to get used to at Meta. My advice here is split up across 2 categories:

    Get People To Like You

    Back Your Case With Data

    • Meta is incredibly metrics-driven; in fact, it's probably the most metrics-driven company in the world
    • Having a compelling set of data to back your project ideas and thoughts in general should be very effective in the vast majority of the company. I think WhatsApp is less data-driven alongside more 0 to 1 orgs like NPE (where they don't really have existing product data obviously)
    • I recommend spending a good chunk of your data getting familiar with Meta's data tooling like Scuba, Daiquery, and Deltoid. You might want to pair program with a data scientist in your org to learn this faster
    • To learn how to become a data analysis master, check out this case study from a Meta Senior Director of Data Science: [Case Study] How To Become A Data Guru As An Engineer (w/ Senior Director of DS Mo Shahangian)
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    7 months ago

    Be genuinely useful.

    This is reductive but works really well -- observe what people are working on and proactively offer suggestions, review their code, fix bugs, etc. Offer differentiated value and you'll quickly become respected in the org. Respect leads to leadership.

Meta Platforms, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California. The company owns 3 of top 4 social networks in the world: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. More than 3.5 billion people use at least one of the company's core products every month.
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