If it won't be simple, it simply won't be. [Hire me, source code] by Miki Tebeka, CEO, 353Solutions

Monday, September 09, 2013

Advice For New Managers

Here's some of the advice I give new managers. I try to talk to them before they start their first management job - let me be the first to ruin their career :)

Disclaimer: I'm not a manager, but I was managed by many and was an officer for many years in the IDF which is very informal kind of army.

Here they are, without any particular order.

Style

Every manager has their own style. From fire-and-forget to micromanagement and everything in the middle. Your style will probably be different from another manager (even from your own), your management style will change over time and from team to team. Play to your strengths - organizational, people skills, ....

Don't be afraid to try until you find a style that both you and your team are comfortable in. As long as you're open about what you're doing, you team will support you. It's hard to measure the effectivenehess of each style, but if you can - do that.

Let Go

You are a manager now, not a developer. I've seen very few managers in my long career that managed to do both effectively. Learn to trust your team and be a manager first and developer last.

Think about the things you liked and disliked in your past managers (and the current one) and figure out what you should do.

Manage Your Time

Management is very different from development, it's much more interruption driven. However you need to allocate time for yourself. I've seen the best officers in the army taking up to 30 minutes to think while all hell breaking loose around them (number 2 was in charge in the meanwhile). If they can do it - I'm sure you can.

Here's a great talk by John Cleese (of the Monty Python fame) about creativity which covers this topic as well.

Know Your Place

In officer training over at IDF, they teach you that an officer should be where he/she's most needed. Same goes for you - think about what you are the most effective at solving the more important things and be there.

Develop A Mantra

Find a sentence which will help you focus, and ask it repeatedly throughout the day. I found out that "Why aren't we deploying?" help our team focus and deliver. However find one that fits your goals/team/company ....

You Team Comes First

If you show your team they come first (mostly by "buffering" them from all the management noise), they will be loyal to you. Loyalty works both ways or it doesn't work.A loyal and jelled team is hard to build but when you get there - they will rock.


That's about it. Don't be nervous and try to enjoy a new position. In the worse case know that management is not for everybody (I personally don't like it). There's no shame in saying "this is not for me" and getting back to to fun stuff. (My brother did just that, he managed for a year and then said to the company - "Either I'm back to development or I'm out". He was back in development).

I hope that you found this useful.


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