I am a long-time Microsoft employee who worked for Eric for about 6 years across Xbox and Windows, working on the engineering system. Eric helped me to understand what I needed to learn to grow my career, and gave me the resources, detailed feedback, and literally, the space to do it. Eric is the kind of leader and mentor that inspires confidence, a desire to learn and grow, and who gives you the details and feedback you need to be successful. He takes the time to learn your unique needs and work style, and then finds ways to teach you how to be successful using them. Through this, he sets a strong example for how to lead and grow a team using positive, encouraging, and inclusive approaches.
Some examples of how Eric has helped me:
- I am an extremely kinesthetic learner (aka, I only learn while in motion), I often need to process information verbally (aka, I need to talk through problems), and I naturally have a loud voice that carries well. Due to this, I am unable to be productive in open office space, because constant motion and noise have negative impacts on those around you and are strongly socially discouraged. Xbox used open office spaces, but Eric was able to find a creative solution to get me my own office space, much to the delight of both myself and everyone around me. This enabled me to be orders of magnitude more productive. Very few managers would have taken this request as seriously or have put as much effort into meeting it, but Eric did, and I remain very grateful.
- I love working in the depths of the engineering system, but had trouble communicating to broader audiences why certain solutions were needed. Eric took the time to understand the details of the system, what solutions were needed, and then worked with me (using his legendary “red pen” 😊) to patiently help me learn to communicate more effectively and concisely. Being able to ask him detailed questions about why he communicated the way he did and explore tradeoffs and choices to communicate the same message was incredibly helpful. He took the time to meet me where I was at in my skills and help me grow them over a multi-year period in an incremental and digestible way. To this day, and even as I write this, I often recall his guidance and edit my communications based on it.
- I have greatly grown in my ability to interview, find good talent for my team, and to grow that talent over time as part of my team with Eric’s guidance. Eric is the best interviewer and talent finder I have ever seen, with an incredibly accurate ability to find overlooked “diamonds in the rough” and bring them into his team to be polished. This extends to how he approaches career growth (1:1’s, in Microsoft parlance) and how he is able to find what works for you to help you grow specific skills and abilities so that you are successful. He delights in teaching anyone who is interested how to improve their own ability to interview, select good talent, and grow their skills over time, and I have benefited greatly from it.