The Job That Made Me A Manager

Today it is out : my colleagues received the mail announcing my transition to another team as a manager at Microsoft. Now it really feels real, now I realise that I am leaving this office and the organization that gave me the chance to take on the challange to build a team. I came as a motivated IT professional and project manager and I am leaving as a manager. Feels similar like what I felt when leaving my parents’ house 16 years ago.

So looking back all the things I have done here , here are some of my “read it, do it” notes I made:

Lessons learned  top list

  1.  When it comes to figuring out the reasons and facts about unexpected output or behavior, never assume things or use interpretation based on 3rd party information. Go talk to people,  your decisions and plans have to be based on the data and facts you directly obtain from people you trust.
  2.  Make it crystal clear what you expect from individuals and what the “real deal” goals are for your team. Do not attempt to tell them how to do their jobs and use their expertise.
  3.  You want to make the call and make a decision yourself enforcing your opinion? Fine. But do inform people about it and tell them why. ( It is not a naturally acceptable thing that you get to decide about things on your own all the time.)
  4.  Figure out the Must-Dos and Dont-Dos in your team , set the rules to function, grow and work effectively with you in your team for your employees.
  5.  You don’t have to have all the answers of the questions. But you have to listen to all of them and give the best information you can to your team.
  6.  Face to face conversations with your team members are vital for your job. See them as important as the meetings with your boss or CEO. Do not turn them back when they request a one on one talk. (you are a peoples manager and tell your people you are too busy to talk to them?! …. hmmm…. no does not really make sense)
  7.  You have to take time for each employee, at least an 1-2 hours a month. Go talk to them or work on their career, development, think about their participation in the team and their development potential.
  8.  Work hard on the trust in your relationships with your subordinates. If they give you honest and open feedback, REAL feedback , you can drastically improve yourself (or at least know when and why you sometimes suck)
  9.  If you are feeling angry with somebody or something…There is something wrong with YOU. Go calm down and think about it once again.
  10.  Accept the fact that some people and some sh*tty things cannot be changed so easily. Some things are out of your reach. Stop spending your energy on them  and avoid damaging your mental health for nonsense. Protect yourself and your team from those things.
  11.  Managers delegate! They have their great team to work on the daily challenges, they have to look into the future and work on the long-term plans instead. Be visionary and lead your team towards your visions. (yes let your team fix the last bug you recognized…I know you would have fun doing it too…)
  12.  The best manager is who makes herself redundant with time, one that implements the self managing and growing team or individuals. When that state is reached she should move on. I firmly believe in this especially when it comes to people management. You cannot optimally and productively lead the same team for long…How long? I don’t know, it depends on the field I guess. ( >5 years  sounds a verry good time to start considering a move)
  13.  Do not put your team in a cocoon. It is not only about  you and them. It is the whole team interacting with the whole enterprise.
  14.  You really do not have to go to all the meetings, even if the invitation is coming from upper levels. Do not hesitate to say no if you think it is the better option for your work.
  15.  Meetings are great, ONLY if the people you invited are interested in what you want to tell them or in the result of the meeting. A meeting without meeting notes and/or followup points has not taken place.
  16.  Documentation is great and has to be given priority and incentives to be done. But there is no way that you can turn all the valuable and useful tacit information to an easily accessible , written form. Shadow the people carrying that knowhow you cannot get (for whatever reason) externalized.
  17.  Yes, you cannot change people’s character. But…Team culture is a product of processes and the way of getting things done at work. As a manager you have amazing power to drive the culture.
  18.  Be honest. Base your critique on facts.
  19.  Do not reinvent the wheel, be alert about the individuals with that tendency. You need to help them have fun doing something else.
  20.  Managers must be managed too. Manage yours : have a communication and collaboration strategy. Know his/her style and adapt to it.
  21.  Run away and save your day if people start talking about ops vs. dev or vice versa. Everything else is a better use of your time.
  22.  Try to set a good example for work-life balance for your people. Do not work more than 10 hours or do overtime if it is not really necessary. But do kick a*s when the situation calls for it!
  23.  Fingerpointing in the team? : Act against it asap, make all understand that it is not tolarated and it can have consequences. It is the worst thing ever, total productivity and team killer.
  24.  Kill the procrastination monster in yourself and in your team!
  25.  Celebrate success but know to accept the failures and flops. The BEST learning is from mistakes and failures if you have the culture for it.
%d bloggers like this: