Guiding line for new managers

A few short tips for a manager starting out:

  1. Hire the best people you can.
    • Identify the skills that your team is lacking and hire towards that.
    • Good beats perfection. Look for people with potential and eager to learn.
    • You are as fast as your slowest team member.
  2. Provide the team with problems, not solutions.
    • Give space for the team to find their own solutions. This instils a sense accountability and ownership.
    • This improves your ability to delegate.
    • This allows you to fairly evaluate people. How can you evaluate someone that just did what you asked them?
  3. Nudge if the team is tackling the wrong problems.
    • It can happen that the team is not scoping correctly. Ask questions, before jumping to a conclusion.
    • Never be afraid of providing feedback, but make sure it’s factual and actionable. The moment you are concerned about giving feedback, a time bomb starts.
  4. Look at trends, not short-term decisions.
    • Avoid knee-jerk reactions - this destroys relationships. Never initiate a conversation while hot-headed.
    • Look at the minimum of 3 months worth of performance / impact. Write those down - both good and bad.
  5. Buffer the team from distractions.
    • Engineers require long periods of uninterrupted time. Being called / mentioned often breaks the flow. Protect them.
    • Sometimes you will need to have difficult decisions with people outside engineering, because of that. Do it.
  6. You are the sum of your team members’ success.
    • You are no longer an IC. Make sure you are out of the critical path. Don’t be a blocker, when you can delegate.
    • The team’s productivity and job satisfaction is your number one focus.