A year back I started my new role as UI Manager. I was very scared as throughout my life I was not so impressed by the managers and I always preferred to remain at the developer side. But I decided to take this as a challenge and see if I can enjoy this role or not.
It is now 1 year and I learned a lot while working. Here are a few of the things I learned in my first year:
1) Code is easy people are not!!
When I was working as a developer I always used to envy how to relax the manager job is. All they do is just ask the status of the work and do meetings. Whereas, we folks are doing the coding and meeting the delivery dates.
Now, in the last 1 year, I learned that getting work done is one of the hardest jobs. As a manager, you need to learn and master the art of handling the people. You need to be sensitive enough to have a good relation with your team but in parallel to that make sure the project is getting deliver too.
Woah!! For me, it was the hardest thing. To understand each and every team member and what motivates them to work. How I can ensure that they are enjoying the work as well as growing in their career, as well as motivated to do more work.
TBH, code is easy to do than handling people.
2) The process is very important
I am a very process-oriented person. I know folks who don't like the process at all and they believe that without process they can be more productive and push things quicker.
But I learned while at the other side of the table that having the process of everything will not just help the team but manager too. By defining the process of everything it helped me to avoid many ad-hoc meetings, questions, doubts, etc.
As a result, we shared our process with the other teams too.
3) Having 1:1 with the team
1:1 are a very effective way to open 2-way communication with your team. For me, 1:1 with my team helped me to do my job effectively. Communication is the key to have a good team. In the 1:1 with my team, I always gave them to share about anything which is making them uncomfortable or anything which is exciting for them.
This candid conversation helped me in building a relationship with my every team member.
4) Lead by example
The definition of the leader is - "A person who leads" but for me, it is all about "Lead by example". If there is anything new coming in our way I always make sure that I will do my homework to understand what it is and create POCs. This helped me to set an example that how to do it. So, next time when any such task comes my team used to say that we will do it you can focus on other tasks. At many meetings, I used to ask my team to shadow me so that they can see and learn how to do meetings.
This helped me to avoid conflicts about why we should it?
5) Time management
Time management is very crucial. I took it very lightly in my starting months and I realize that I am not able to close my day and finish the tasks. I learned in a very hard way how to manage the time. I started utilizing the calendar.
I started living by the calendar. My team started blocking my calendar for meetings with me. I block my travel, lunch, work time in the calendar too. This helps my team to know when I am not available.
I also started focusing on delegating the tasks which don't require me. This helped me in getting some space for myself as well as to help my team to step-up and take a few extra tasks too.
6) Empathy goes a long way
Empathy for me is most important. In the end, we all are human and coming to work with our personal issues. I learned that it is important to understand that having empathy and respecting your team members will motivate your team and which in return obviously help in increasing productivity. There could be a team when your one of the team member is having personal issues and there is important work needs to finish.
The worst thing would be to ask the person - "How you are going to finish this task?".
Give them the time to focus on their personal life and in parallel as a manager thinks about how you will manage the work without that person.
7) Growth: Personal, Team, and Organization
Growth is different at every level but everyone wants to grow from a developer, manager, team, and organization level but as a manager, we should know how to align everyone's goal towards the growth of the company yet everyone is able to achieve what they want.
I am still learning this. This is very helpful because it shows where the company is moving and how every individual is contributing to the growth of the company.
8) Learn to do hard conversation
One of the hardest things is to do a hard conversation with your team. For me, it is still a learning area but I learned how to give constructive feedback. One thing I learned is it is important to explain to your team is that 'feedback' is not 'negative feedback' it is 'constructive feedback' to help them in growing in their career life.
9) Draw the line
I have seen that many managers like to step into the personal life of their team. I learned that it is good to draw a line on how much as a manager you should step in the personal life of your team members. There are many folks who don't like to share anything about their personal life and we as managers should respect it.
So, far for me, management is a roller-coaster ride. Every day I am learning something new at work and about human psychology. Today, I have huge respect for all managers.