One of my colleagues asked me to write down my "management best practices", which took me a while to wrap my head around because it felt very clinical? There's no SOP for good management. There's nothing consistent about management, so you just have to stand for a few things, and believe in them deeply enough to let them guide you through the maze. What are your few things? They're probably different than mine, but the important part is to have them. Write them down. Share them for accountability. Building culture on a team has to be done intentionally, or it won't work, and it's very hard to do anything intentionally without some foundational values.
Managers should know their why. Managers need to understand their why. Why are you a manager? If you're doing it because you genuinely want to develop people, and because you love coaching, scouting, and building cultures that can accomplish complex goals — then you should try management. If you're doing it for any other reasons, that leads me to my next point...
Management is it's own career path and should be treated as such. Management is not what happens at the end of an individual contributor career. It should be treated with the same diligence and rigor as someone who is teaching themselves to code because they want to be a software developer. If you feel like you have to go into management to get to the next level in your career, I would encourage you to not go into management. Not even because you'll be bad at it, but because it won't produce the results you think it will and you shouldn't be taking other people's development into your hands if you can't understand this distinction. If you believe you have to be a manager to make strategic and impactful contributions to your business, then you probably shouldn't be a manager.
Egos guarantee fumbles. This is true on and off the field. Great managers are self-aware, agile, and adaptable. Amazing managers are also unflappable, cool, calm, collected. As a manager, it's your job to keep momentum flowing in a positive direction and it's impossible to do that while balancing your ego. Stay focused on the goals and remember nothing is about you, it's about the business. The "empire-building" game is a short one. Check your ego, deliver, and your empire will flourish at a rate you can actually handle.
Managers can lead with empathy, and vulnerability, without sacrificing productivity. I'm not going to say anything better than what Brené Brown has already said a million times. However, I will say that part of leading with empathy and vulnerability is establishing your own tenets and boundaries so you can be in a productive environment. Determine what your tenets are and stick to them. Personally, my are accountability, transparency, and communication and anyone who has ever worked for me will tell you that. These are the things that I know I need to be succesful and to provide the most value to my team and the organization.
Managers can't manage people they don't know. So, yes, literally you probably can do this but can you really do it well? It's easy to take a group of strangers over whom you have authority and shove them into teams to fit your strategy. You'll may even see short-term gains, but the entropy will never end. The harder task, with the longer-term benefits, is learning about your people efficiently, organizing them to execute effectively on your vision, and do it all without losing momentum. The entropy will exist, but it will be more subtle and rooted in trust. Most importantly, it will end and you'll be able to reach steady-state.
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