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What I learned in my first year of being a Manager

hellonehha profile image Neha Sharma ・4 min read

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.

Posted on by:

hellonehha profile

Neha Sharma

@hellonehha

UI Engineer ,I love Web,JavaScript, Design System, A11Y, HTML5, CSS3 ,React; Community Advocate and enjoy giving talks and codelabs at the Meetups and conference. I am self-taught calligrapher too.

Discussion

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Always great to see managers who really care about what they're doing with the people who report to them. Need a lot more people like you and thanks for writing this so people can have some idea of the right things to do.

 

Great article πŸ™Œ. I am in a team lead position for around a year now and I could say I share the same thoughts. I was thinking before what are those people doing - meeting here, meeting there, speak with this person, speak with the other person and the day is off. However, working with people is by far the most difficult thing IMO. I can't even try to compare them with coding πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ.

We should learn to be a little bit a psychologist because every person is different and they should be approached differently. So giving feedback, talking about their growth path, even writing PR comments can differentiate per person. We should put ourselves in one's shoes and try to understand their situation. For example, someone can have a decrease in productivity and we shouldn't hurry and be judgemental - we all go through some shitty periods, have personal problems, .etc, so this is pretty normal. We should try and understand what people are going through. Providing an environment in which everybody will feel safe to do that is very important.

I have always liked "Lead by example". I think in similar positions, we should be a role model for other people and inspire them to become better every day. In my eyes, this is not only for purely technical skills but for life in general. If we can grow together in every direction, the better.

Stopping my thoughts here because it is starting to become like a sub-post 😁. Maybe I will invest some time to structure all of my thoughts and experience for the time being and write a similar article with them.

However, great post and learnings Neha. πŸ’ͺ

 

Thank you so much!!!

Looking forward to your article

 

All really good points! I’m on a similar journey myself having gone back to a management role last year. It’s a brave step to take, but selfless wanting to make a positive difference! Good luck!!

 

It was great for me to go through the post and I realized a lot of lessons of my life currently I am 18 and see myself as a successful in 20es of my life.

Can you please explain

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.

What do you mean by process?

Is anyone interested in "An advice to 18 Yo guy"?

Thank You.

 

Process from Manager presepctive:

1) The code guidelines
2) How to start with any story or module
3) Process of how the code will get merged to the master
4) Process of defects cycle and build process
5) Process of taking new requirements from the customer
6) Process of over all project development

Eg: it is part of the process to have the designs or UX screens to be freezed and approved by the product manager before development start. It is the part of the process that what all the 'defect states and priorities' would be? and many more such thing

 

Nice post! I guess I never took time to see things from a manager perspective. Thank you for sharing what you learned

 

You are a dream manager for many . I always end up with bad managers. May be I was careless while joining or still tolerating bad managers.
You have truly opened my eyes .

 

Thank you!!

I also worked with many bad managers and very few good managers.

My first thought as a manager is always- "We are human first. What if my manager will do something like this with me?".

My director gave me this advice - "Be that kind of manager with which you would like to work".

 
 
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I have 10 years of experience in coding. I still code. When you compare doing coding vs managing people ...I feel code is much easier to do than managing people and getting out work from them.

My advice to you: Do not write anything if you don't know me and my experience.

These are my learnings & I am not here passing my judgments for anyone.

 

maybe, just maaaybe, there are people better than you are.

 

Great article. You shared a lot of really good insights.
I would request you to write about how to approach 1:1.

 

Been on this site for months and this is the first post I liked! Kudos!