August 12, 2007
I have a list I call “Manager Points”. I keep it in a folder that I carry everywhere at work and refer to often (but not often enough.) It consists of short reminders to myself of knowledge pulled from books, blogs, and personal experience. It is constantly evolving, and it is not always gramatically correct, but here is a snapshot of it as of now:
- Rely on group wisdom, believe that the team is smarter than the individual
- Drive toward a common understanding of a problem. It will save time in the long run and prevent future roadblocks
- You can’t fake clarity on the desired end result
- Look for responsibilities to give to people
- Focus on What is right, not Who is right
- Give people a chance to feel like big contributors, and praise people as a spokesman for the team. “Thank you for… The whole team appreciates…”
- People are fitter, happier, and more productive when they claim work, rather than you assigning it to them. The people we hire are motivated, they will claim work hard if given the chance and shown appreciation
- All meetings need a purpose and agenda
- Welcome smart ideas, don’t be afraid of someone doing “your job”. This is how people grow, and it’s always productive if working toward a common goal
- Encourage good / difficult communication. There is no substitute for a face-to-face conversation
- To make sure that difficult (ie: painful) conversation happens when it needs to, make communication routine
- Stay calm, look at challenges as a change in circumstances. Focus on adapting
- Look for what motivates people - everyone is different - Challenge, Attention, Excitement, Friends, Money, Deadlines
- Everyone has ups and downs. Learning new things is hard. Be patient.
- Look for opportunities for change, excitement, and learning.
- Think often about what you could be overlooking and what you should be preparing for
- Think just as often about what you are learning and what you have done correctly
- Hold people to a schedule by asking questions, not making demands
- Your main responsibility is no longer “you”. It is now your team. If they do not learn and advance in their careers throughout the project, you are not doing your job.