But this is how anything in life goes: You try something. You figure out what worked and what didn't. You file away lessons for the future. And then you get better. Rinse, repeat.
Ch 1 What Is Management?
THE ONE-LINE DEFINITION OF A MANAGER’S JOB
This is the crux of management: It is the belief that a team of people can achieve more than a single person going it alone. It is the realization that you don't have to do everything yourself, be the best at everything yourself, or even know how to do every thing yourself.
Your job, as a manager, is to get better outcomes from a group of people working together.
HOW DO YOU TELL A GREAT MANAGER FROM AN AVERAGE MANAGER?
Andy Grove, founder and CEO of Intel and a legendary manager of his time, wrote that when it comes to evaluations, one should look at "the output of the work unit and not simply the activity involved.
THE THREE THINGS MANAGERS THINK ABOUT ALL DAY
Purpose, people, and process—the why, the who, and the how.
MANAGING IS IN SURVIVAL MODE
Just do whatever you can to survive.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’LL BE A GREAT MANAGER?
- Find it motivating to achieve a particular outcome or to play a specific role.
The most important one: adaptability.
- Like talking with people.
Not a must.
- Provide stability for an emotionally challenging situation.
Being a manager cannot: make a progress in your career; have the freedom to call the shots.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
To be a manager one must certainly be a leader.
A title of manager can be given but leadership need efforts to earn.
In your early days as a manager, what matters most is transitoning gracefully into the role and nailing the essentials of leading a small team. Only when you have built trust with your reports will you have the credibility to help them achieve more together.
Ch 2 Your First Three Months
- What will be my scope to start, and how do you expect it to change over time?
- How will my transition be communicated?
- What do I need to know about the people that I'll be managing?
- What important team goals or processes should I be aware of and help push forward?
- What does success look like in my first three and six months?
- How can the two of us stay aligned on who does what?
Watch out for:
- Don’t play the coach;
- Afraid to have hard conversations;
- Share less information with you.
- How do I make decisions?
- What do I consider a job well done?
- What are all the responsibilities I took care of when it was just me?
- What's easy or hard about working in this function?
- What new processes are needed now that this team is growing?
- What did you and your past manager discuss that was most helpful to you?
- What are the ways in which you'd like to be supported?
- How do you like to be recognized for great work?
- What kind of feedback is most useful for you?
- Imagine that you and I had an amazing relationship. What would that look like?
Ch 3 Leading a Small Team
A manager's job is to get better outcomes from a group of people working together through influencing purpose, people, and process.
What get in the way of good work?
The first is that people don't know how to do good work. The second is that they know how, but they aren't motivated.
Discuss top priorities: What are the one, two, or three most critical outcomes for your report and how can you help her tackle these challenges? Calibrate what "great" looks like: Do you have a shared vision of what you're working toward? Are you in sync about goals or expectations? Share feedback: What feedback can you give that will help your report, and what can your report tell you that will make you more effective as a manager? Reflect on how thinegare going: Once in a while, to useful zoom out and talk about your report's general state of mind how is he feeling on the whole? What's making him satisfied or dissatisfied? Have any of his goals changed? What has he learned recently and what does he want to learn going forward?
Focus on the good ones.
If pou have five people on your team, four of whom are doing well one who isn't, you may feel like you should focus most of your time and energy on the struggling report because you want to "fix" the problem. But in the same way that individuals should play to their strengths, so should you pay attention to your team's top talent—the people who are doing well and could be doing even better. Don't let the worst performers dominate your time—try to diagnose, address, and resolve their issues as swiftly as you can.
Your job as a manager is not tot to dole out advice or Save the day — It’s to empower your reports.
Questions to ask:
- What’s top of mind for you right now?
- What priorities are you thinking about this week?
- What’s the best use of our time today?
Ch 4: The Art of Feedback
- Learn to give great feedback — and remember that praise is a form of feedback. There is task specific feedback and behavioral feedback (who the person is perceived to be, what their behavior is like).
- Aim for at least 50% positive feedback so your reports know when they are doing well
- No one likes surprises — you need to set clear expectations, and to communicate regularly and effectively.
Chapter 5: Managing Yourself
- “Being a great manager is a highly personal journey and if you do not have a good handle of yourself, you won’t have a good handle on how to best support your team”
- Play to your strengths
- Ask yourself — what are your key areas of improvements? Do you have enough self-awareness?
- Schedule time for daily preparation.
- Figure out what triggers you and what helps you do your best work.
- Use visualizations to improve you confidence — vividly visualize yourself succeeding.
- Celebrate daily little wins.
- Establish boundaries.
- Get feedback — both task specific and behavior specific.
- Treat your manager as a coach, not a judge.
Questions to ask:
- How would the people who know and like me best describe me in three words?
- What three qualities do I possess that I am the proudest of?
- When I look back on something I did that was successful, what personal traits do I give credit to?
- What are the top three most common pieces of positive feedback that I’ve received from my manager or peers?
- Whenever my worst inner critic sits on my shoulder, what does she yell at me for?
- What are the top three most common pieces of feedback from my manager or peers on how I could be more effective?
Chapter 6: Amazing Meetings
- Ask yourself “What does a great outcome look like” for every meeting?
- Are you trying to make a decision?
- to share information?
- to generate ideas?
- to strengthen relationships?
- Make sure you invite the right people — and keep it small.
- Share agenda ahead of the meeting and give people the opportunity to come prepared.
- Send follow ups with clear action items after meetings.
- Create an environment where people feel comfortable contributing.
- Realize that many meetings may not need you — and that many may not even need to exist. Your time is critical — guard it well.
Chapter 7: Hiring Well
- Hiring is super critical and should be done very well. “As a manager, one of the smartest ways to multiply your team’s impact is to hire the best people and empower them to do more and more until you stretch the limits of their capabilities”.
- Plan intentionally and ahead of time — think about your future org chart ahead of time.
- Hiring is a manager’s responsibility. Work closely with the recruiting team and build an awesome relationship with them.
- Be super clear about what you’re looking for and make sure your recruiting team knows specifically what you’re looking for.
- Make sure the interview process is amazing — this shows candidate (future hires) that you care which is critical if you want these candidates to say yes or apply again in the future.
- Be aware that interview performance is not correlated with job performance. Try to understand candidates’ past experience especially on similar projects in a similar environment. Ask to see previous sample work/portfolios.
- Having multiple interviewers can help reduce bias.
- Hire candidates that the team is excited and passionate about.
- Do not rush leadership hires.
- Careers are long so think long term when hiring — build great relationships even if the person you want to hire chooses something else now, they are a potential great hire for the future.
Chapter 8: Making Things Happen
- Process is critical. It is not about light bulb moments — it is about trying quickly, being curious and doubling down on what is working.
- You need an ambitious, concrete, and specific vision for your team. If you ask 5 random people who have heard your vision to repeat it, would they be able to?
- “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Your strategy should acknowledge your team’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Focus on doing few things well — ”the general idea is that the majority of results come from a minority of the causes”.
- Prioritization is absolutely critical.
- “Effort does not count; results are what matter.”
- Ownership needs to be clear.
- People are biased to underestimate how long things will take — so buffer accordingly.
- Speed matters — move fast.
- Establish a culture where collective learning and resilience are critical. “At the end of the day, a resilient organization is not one that never makes mistakes but rather one whose mistakes make it stronger over time”.
- Take a portfolio approach — Balance short term need with long term strategies.
- “Describe over and over again the world you’d like to see. Try to connect every task, project, description or goal with the organization’s higher purpose”.
- Codify processes into playbooks to save time — this will also ensure that you’re not a bottleneck when you are on vacation or if/when you leave.
Chapter Nine: Leading a Growing Team
- “One of the biggest challenges of managing at scale is findingg the right balance between going deep on a problem and steeping back and trusting others to take cafe of it”
- Know your team dynamic will change as you grow — create a culture of psychological safety to encourage honesty and transparency
- Be prepared to context switch as your team’s number of projects increase by planning for your week and being organized
- “At higher levels of management, the job starts to converge regardless of background” — its more about teams and communication
- One of the hardest skills to learn is the art of delegation — knowing when to dive in yourself and when to step back and entrust others
- Giving people hard problems is a sign that you trust them — empower your team to solve difficult challenges and support them
- Having the same vision on a team is important to success — is your team aligned in how they think about people, purpose, and process?
- “A great team is a prerequisite for great work” — People trump projects
- Part of growing your team is looking for ways to replace your own role
- We tend to get attached to what we’re doing and the control it gives us — but part of growing the team is foregoing your own ego in lieu of your team’s success
- Don’t take everything on yourself — remember the adage of teaching someone to fish
- When thinking about what not to delegate, consider your unique value that flows from your personal strengths — and communication, hiring, and resolving conflicts
Chapter Ten: Nurturing Culture
- Leaders should know what their team does well and what it values
- Each team has its own subculture
- Don’t shy away from talking about things that you value
- For the message to stick, it should be repeated often and in different ways
- Your behavior should reflect the team’s ideal values
- Choose the right incentives to reinforce valued behaviors – not just quick fixes
- Avoid rewarding short gains over long-term investments
- Develop traditions around your values to reinforce them and build culture
- Have frank discussions about what your team should value and why.
- Talk to your direct reports when they showcase behaviours that don’t align with your team values.
- Invent traditions and rituals that celebrate your values (like hackathons that promote innovation, a customer love prize that promotes great customer service, an annual ceremony to reward people for showcasing company values, Monday morning yoga to promote mindfulness, CEO Q&A sessions to promote transparency, etc.)
- Always walk the walk: your team looks up to you, so make sure you’re setting the right example for them.