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15 Random Pieces Of Wisdom About People Management

ice_lenor profile image Elena Updated on ・2 min read

This article has been first published on my website smartpuffin.com.

Here are some sundry thoughts I've had throughout my career as a developer and more recently also a team leader.

  1. Do not punish people who disagree with you. You'll end up in a very homogeneous team agreeing with all you say. It is very flattering for your ego, but useless for the company.
  2. If people complain, they do it because they care. Beware if people stop complaining: they have probably lost interest and motivation. Thank them for helping you understand the problems.
  3. Listen to people. Be quiet and listen until they finish. Ask questions. More questions. Listen to answers.
  4. Praise your people. Even if they say you don't have to. Especially if they say you don't have to. Don't take all credit for their work.
  5. Believe in them. Show it.
  6. It is important not to demotivate people. Figure out what demotivates them: unclear tasks? Missing out on promotions? Unfair treatment? Too many meetings? Unrealistic deadlines? Fix it.
  7. Protect your people. Don't let upper management hurt them unconsciously. Stand up for them.
  8. Overcommunicate. Repeat yourself. Make sure they heard and understood you.
  9. Make sure you treat people fairly. Educate yourself about biases. Make sure not to favor talkative people over quiet ones, boastful people over humble ones, people like you over different ones.
  10. Trust your people.
  11. Let them make mistakes. People learn from mistakes. Don't micromanage and handhold too much.
  12. If they do things differently than you, it doesn't automatically mean they're wrong.
  13. Think about what you wouldn't want your boss to do with you. Don't do it with your team.
  14. Respect them. They are smart grown-ups. Treat them as such.
  15. Integrity is important.

Have more tips? Please help me crowdsource a portrait of an ideal manager.

Posted on Feb 21 '18 by:


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Wow. I've had two bosses that failed literally every point on this.

It's shocking how quickly bad bosses dismiss these as naive. I've learned to probe for stuff like this in interviews. When I start seeing red flags, my interest drops off very quickly.


Good call. Yeah if I feel they're micromanagers or blamey I run. I just don't have the confidence or patience to deal with a team lead/boss that acts that way. Really hard for me to not care about projects/company/clients.


Sounds like you have the confidence not to deal with a team lead/boss that acts that way. 👍🏻


I know how frustrating it is. I hope you have a better manager now.

Here are questions I ask on interviews - maybe I should add more questions about management, like you do.


You sound like a team leader I'd like to have :)


Awww, seriously?! I am trying my best, but there is soooo much to learn. So that's a huge compliment for me. Thank you so much! :))


Since you say you are recently a new team lead, I'd like to share something's I'd like my manager to know:

  • I'f I'm not committing code daily, somethings wrong. It would mean the world to me to proactively ask me if something happened. (maybe support is too high or I have a blocker that I don't know how to solve.)
  • Probably should ask for help more, but after asking for help once and still not solving it I tend to get frustrated (which leads back to point 1), especially if the documentation isn't easy to find or doesn't exist.
  • DON'T skip a 1-on-1 if there's nothing "important" to talk about, maybe if it's not work related, you now have 30 minutes to learn more about each other.
  • I wished my managers would do pair programming with me.
  • Take my code reviews to the upmost highest standard. Not truly understanding the code and approving since it solves the issue doesn't encourage me to write clean code.

Anyways, albeit unrequested I hope maybe on of these might be useful :)

Good luck in your new role as team lead!

(Curious, does your team know you make posts like these?)

Good tips, Enrique! Thank you for adding them. It's actually a good idea to "crowdsource a portrait of an ideal manager" :).

Hm, I didn't tell my team about this one. But I think I'll ask them if I hit all the points:).


I am trying my best, but there is soooo much to learn.

That right there is what sets you apart. Thanks for setting a great example!


I'd work for you. I'm pretty autonomous though but I like coffee and learning... and colours. Mostly I think I'm pretty confused but it makes me good at getting things clear. Sounds confusing, right? ;)


Sounds nice! Making things clear is an extremely useful skill.
Thank you, Kat!:)


Thank you, Ben!

P.S. Just want to mention that it's very cool that you or Jess always leave one of the first comments under everyone's posts. I really think it is very nice of you, and contributes to the attentive and caring community.


Well we're sitting around on the site all day 😄


I would call your list "The 15 commandments of leadership".

Most advice on the topic of leadership and management I see on the web, usually falls into the "naive" category and simply doesn't apply in the real world.

As a person whose very passionate about leadership and people skills in general, I have to say that your list absolutely fantastic and it brightened up my day.

If you, as a leader, follow all of the words of wisdom (or at least try to), then I say this from the bottom of my heart:

You're awesome! And I wish they're were more people like you.


Wow, thank you so much for your kind words! It totally made my day.

I like your title suggestion. I might want to brainstorm a bit more about the name next time :). "15 rules for a manager", "15 rules I follow as a manager" etc.


Prints out several copies to leave strategically around the office


Thank you, I'm so very happy you like it so much :))


Paying attention to your people is paramount, as they are your most valuable asset. For the majority of organizations, people are the most costly expense (hiring, firing, payroll, disciplinary), so it is well worth maintaining them. The way to keep employees engaged is to lead them through a shared purpose and vision. Do it right with peopleHum: peoplehum.com/#bl


Several comments:

  1. Unclear tasks are a huge demotivator for me, thanks for considering that.

  2. I would add: Where it applies, do all of the above for yourself. If you can't lead your team of one, you can't lead other people.

  3. If you haven't read Extreme Ownership, I highly recommend it. Best and most actionable leadership advice I've ever seen.


I think these are great points.

As an unfortunate addendum, it's also important to wecognize when somebody is toxic and/or become unproductive. This touches on a few points:

  • 2/14 A toxic person will complain without warrant and may mistreat others.
  • 3 Some people can ramble on forever. You need to somehow stop them.
  • 10/11 It's possible to be in a situation where you're forced to work with sombody who actually isn't qualified, and you can't afford to trust them entirely. Of course, a good coding process, with reviews, can in general prevent bad things from making it to production code.

Back on the positive side, 4/15 are vitally important if you intend on being a good leader. Make sure people know you value their work and that they're getting credit for it.


Great list which should be a primer for every team leader and manager apart from the industry they are working.

I can't wait for next articles from you. Cheers.


Thank you, Rafal! I'm very happy you liked it so much!


Awesome wrap-up about how to treat people. I think it does not only apply to managers, but to basically everyone.

Thank you Elena!


Oh, and one more thing I wanted to add: It is important to actually think that way. If people falsly act this way just because they read it somewhere it just makes things worse.


I think you have hit a home run here.


Also is important to recognize that everybody is different, get to know your people and approach them accordingly


I've recently stepped into a management role... Just going to save this to re-read in the morning... First glance looks good so I want to make sure I actually do these things!

Thank you.