The making of a Manager

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DISCLAIMER: this article is the transcription of an internal talk.
You can find the presentation here.
In Everli we have recurring internal moments that we use for sharing knowledge, as you could see from the previous post.
We are going to integrate the key points of the book we are reviewing as we move forward and then we are going to share our learnings and outcomes.

Introduction

Today I would like to talk about one of the most suggested books from my colleagues.
This book is “The making of a Manager” and I appreciated it for three main reasons:

  • tons of open introspective questions
  • it is practical, with real use cases from the author’s experience
  • after all, everyone is learning something new, this is a how-to guide for solving common problems, leading your team to new horizons
Manager goals
The illustrations on the page are brilliant.

Manager Goal

If I have to simplify, this could be the statement that properly summarizes the main message of the book:

"You are doing something new, the great news is that great managers are made, not born"

No superheroes here, I am sorry.
Everyone is learning, trying, rinse, repeat, fail fast.
You, as a manager, are learning how to get better outcomes from a group of people working well together.
You should stop thinking individually (additive amount), your role is to improve the purpose, people, and process of your team to get a high multiplier effect on your collective outcome as you can.

Growing a team

What gets in the way of good work?

  • people who do not know how to do good work → lack of skills
  • they know, but aren’t motivated → lack of motivation

You should develop a strong relationship founded on trust, where your reports can share safely feedbacks and fears.
“Managing is caring”, giving honest feedback, does not mean always agreeing with them.
Keep in mind that some decisions are yours to make.

Know yourself

Being a great manager is a high journey, and if you do not have a good handle on yourself, you won’t have a good handle on how to best support your team.
You first need to get deep with knowing you, know your strengths.
Every manager feels like an imposter sometimes. Why?

  • you are often looked to for answers (asking for budget, etc)
  • you are constantly put in the position of doing things you have not done before

Admit that you are feeling bad.
Even if you are afraid of the answer, confronting reality is always better than spinning disaster in your head.
It is always worth it.

Making a plan

Executing well means that you pick a reasonable direction, move quickly to learn what works and what does not, and make adjustments to get to your desired outcome.
A good process is ever-evolving.
If you find yourself doing a similar thing over and over again, chances are that it can be formalized into a checklist that can make the task go smoother in the future.
You can then pass the playbook to others to learn and execute, you are still responsible for your team’s outcome, but you can’t be in all the details.
Effort does not count; results are what matter:

  • define who is responsible for what
  • break down a big goal into smaller pieces

Delegation

The most talented employees want to be challenged, there is no greater sign of trust than giving people big problems.
All the best managers agree on one thing: growing great teams means that you are constantly looking for ways to replace yourself in the job you are currently doing with someone to do it better than you would.
The rule of thumb for delegation goes like this:

  • spend your time and energy on the intersection of what’s most important to the organization
  • what you’re uniquely able to do better than anyone else

Meetings are the “necessary evil” of management or the grown-up equivalent of homework.
But do you really need to be in all of them? Let’s delegate!

Conclusion

Management is a highly personal journey.
Some of us start out stronger at certain skills than others.
The person most invested in your career is not your Manager: it is you!
Right ahead is another mountain that’s bigger and scarier than the one before.
Everyone keeps climbing, and everyone achieves more together.
We are looking for high-quality talents, help us growing teams, and if you think you are brave enough and you have what it takes to solve it, visit our careers site to see our current openings in StackOverflow.
We hope this blog post will inspire many leaders to read the book and develop the growth mindset, empathy, and confidence that all managers need.

Ciao! 🚀🚀🚀

Authors: @hex7c0

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