A new job but with familiar faces

This week I got landed with the best of both worlds, career-wise. I got offered a short-term promotion while another staff member takes six months off, which means new challenges and more complex work but without having to leave my workplace or learn a whole lot of new names.

I really like my work and our small team gets on really well. This will mean managing two staff members and taking on more responsibility, which we all know I like because I’m nerdtastic. I also like that the new job makes me feel excited but also nervous – a good sign that I’ll be tested.

My reign of terror starts on 8 September. I’m keen to be a really good manager – feel free to tell me what you like in a manager as I’m on a collecting mission of sorts.




4 Responses to A new job but with familiar faces

  1. Jeannie ( Mum ) says:

    Em , just a few points I will share in how I manage .
    * I always call my staff my team ( not staff ) as without them my businesses wouldn’t work and we all work as a team
    * I am positive ,and I take an interest in each one of them . I always have an open door to my office as communication is very important , We have very good systems in place so everyone knows their job and what is expected of them . They know our high standards so they take pride in their work .
    * I motivate and praise and delegate ,we set goals together . If my team are happy in their work they are productive.
    * Keep those lists going . Remember who you inherited that off ,and the best part is when you can cross off what’s done !
    * The last is make sure you all laugh together every day

  2. duaneg says:

    Ooh, this is an important and interesting topic, and I Have Thoughts!

    Things I look for in a manager, in order of importance:
    1. Trustworthy and not an arsehole
    2. Fights the team’s corner and provides insulation from/effective representation in higher-level politics
    3. Understands and effectively coordinates the team’s work
    4. Well organised

    Note that as long as they treat people decently and aren’t utterly intolerable pricks I don’t mind so much how likeable or fun they are. I’ve had many really nice and utterly hopeless managers, and it sucks.

    How much higher-level politics matters will depend on your organisation. But even if everyone is decent and working for the good of the wider organisation it is still important that the team is effectively represented. Without that you have all sorts of problems: inadequate resources, unrealistic or inappropriate goals, upper-management directly asking team members to deal with whatever random issue currently seems important to them (grr).

    And that is the very best-case: there are usually individuals who have no qualms about treating people badly, or going against the interests of the wider organisation, if it would advantage them. IMO one of the managers most important tasks is protecting the team (and wider organisation) from such people, as and when required.

    Not on the list: being technically skilled. Obviously they must understand the technicalities to some degree, but my best managers have all been non-technical people. It is OK they can’t do my job: that is why they employ me! Perhaps this is not such an issue in your industry, but techies often think the opposite, and I think it is a mistake.

    One of the most valuable and interesting conference talks I’ve ever attended was titled something like, “Shit, I’m a manager!” It was about the tech industry, which is all I’ve ever known, but I think most of it generalises well.

    Thanks to Google you can see the presentation and notes here: http://www.sparklefluff.com/siam/. It still holds up, IMO.

    The most important point was that being a manager is a job — a very important job! — in its own right. And a totally different job from what you were doing before.

    With two reports it won’t be full-time for you, or probably even take most of your time, but it should still be your highest priority. The happiness and productivity of all three of you will depend on it being done well.

    The hardest part about managing people for me was giving negative feedback, and dealing with under-performance and other issues. From what I’ve seen it is something that most people find very difficult. Hopefully this will not be an issue for you in the next six months, but if you continue managing people then sooner or later it will.

    Good luck!

    • tomandemma says:

      Fantastic! This is such good and thorough advice and I really appreciate it. I particularly like the information about dealing with people’s crazy ideas from higher up the foodchain, which happens often. I’ll look out that presentation too. Thank you!

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