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wow, where to start... :)

I think good manager should have these traits: good communication skills, embrace trust in team, give autonomy to subordinates, and have a strategic thinking.

Good communication skills is neccessary to clearly express expectations and vision. It's not about quantity how much manager is speaking, but quality. Sounds obvious, but in practice it's not that common to have manager which is able to express thoughs as clearly as possible. Also it's important to be able to listen to teammates, especially when subordinates try to explain some issues or obstacles.

Trust is also key - manager should be goal-setter, not micromanager and controlling each move.

Autonomy is related to trust, but I thought to have as a separate point here. Ideally it should be that manager has great team of people which are skilled and experienced enough to make right decisions in given situation, then project goes faster and smoother. Otherwise, manager makes all decisions and there is a big risk to become a bottleneck of project which can cause delays and other issues.


I like the idea of "servant leadership" that you can also find present in Agile methodologies.

They should be enablers so that the company and the team reach the goals they set, power should be shared in the sense that it shouldn't just be just top-down.

"Do this because I say so" it's the fastest way to create disgruntled employees :-D

In case of conflict resolution though they should be able to exercise "rank" and steer the issue one way or another but also assume the responsibility of such choice.


Ideal manager is one that will, without fail, fight for their team


Thank you, Shannon! I'm curious about this one - I heard different opinions about this. Can you elaborate a bit, please?


Of course! I see it as being there to support your team no easy days and hard days. I'm not a manager, but I can imagine there may be times where the pressure comes from upper management or outside sources that effects the team and you should be there to speak for their well being, share their concerns, be their advocates, etc. I also see it as if there is a need for change within the team (due to a mistake, changing organizations, whatever) that it can be done honestly, clearly and professionally. Hopefully that clarifies a little!

Thank you, I wholeheartedly agree. I met a manager who had a different opinion about this: they thought the company interests are the highest priority, and was surprises even I mentioned "protecting the team members". That's why I'm asking.

I can understand where they are coming from. However, if your team isn't happy, turnover and overall quality of work, etc can suffer. I'm sure its a delicate balance!


I'd say a I'd like my manager to have a really good idea of what they want and know how to express it well. But also the sense to know that the thing they ultimately get will be different from what they want and have a good understanding of that.

That's what comes to mind for me.


I would like them to follow these traits I learned many years ago: Marine Corps Leadership Traits

I don't like to work for Pointy Haired Bosses, Lumberghs or Mr. Shankleys.


That's actually a very good list, thank you for sharing, Frank. I agree almost with everything (except maybe for enduring pain :)).

Though can you please explain the part with Pointy Haired Bosses etc?


Pointy Haired Boss is from the comic strip Dilbert

Lumbergh is a character in the movie Office Space.

Mr Shankly is the subject of a song by The Smiths


A manager should be:

  • Technically adept. Not necessarily the smartest person in the room but experienced enough to know when to trust their reports.
  • Excellent with time management and communicating schedules and vision to their reports while incorporating their feedback.
  • Transformative. Managers should be looking to not only develop products but people. When their reports move on it should not be because their managers are failing them but because their managers have helped them mature and grow for new challenges.

They should not be:

  • Non-technical. How can a manager who is unfamiliar with the nature of their reports' work possibly hope to communicate effectively with them?
  • Paternal. The militaristic "hurry up and wait" and "trust me and I'll insulate you from problems" mafioso attitudes stifle reports abilities to feel vulnerable to incorporate constructive feedback and ultimately stifle creativity.
  • Transactional. Managers who deal both internally with their reports and externally in a tit-for-tat manner are at best selfish and at worst untrustworthy.
  • Inauthentic. Nothing is more frustrating and damaging to trust than a manager who has incongruences between their words and their actions. (And ask/demand you to exhibit the same behavior!)

That's a nice list, thank you, Rene


Lot of my experience about manager (should be not to do):

  • Don't know what to do.
  • Get task from higher position and only pass to subordinate.
  • Asking result without need to know the process.
  • Never giving appreciation.



Thank you :) And what should they do, in your opinion? (Except for what you just listed, but inverted.)


Hmm. Interesting..
I imagine a leader that can encourage people. Especially in term of this era of technology (lot of new framework, mature design pattern, etc), they should learn at least the pro and cons and try to implement it to make better product.

Another is try to make people in the team in the same level of knowledge, having standardization on how to code. Make people in the team happy but also in the same time challenging to make the team grow.


I’ve never been fond of the management cycle, but here’s my two cents:

  • managers of developers should have at last a basic primer on what the hell we’re rambling about before asking us questions; we need to spend more time doing to meet deadlines, but if we spend 30 minutes explaining it in the form of apples we’ve lost 30 minutes of progress

  • managers should be understanding of their staff and shouldn’t try to be too bossy (within reason, of course) over the order of operations things need to happen, developers can feel more human if it feels they have a say in what happens

They shouldn’t:

  • hide behind a desk, it’s so unfulfilling when you get an email or IM from your boss saying “good job” or “great work” - take the 2 minutes, stand up, come to my desk and just tell me in person, I get a rush of adrenaline, like “wow I did good, and my boss loves it sweet, let’s do it again” as opposed to an email saying “good job”

  • if a developer asks for a raise, it’s usually a good reason; don’t keep saying “we’ll schedule a meeting” or “I don’t feel you deserve one” - hear the developer out, for example, one boss I’ve had refused to give me a $2 extra per hour raise, despite saying I’d deserve a raise, and reporting we profited over $10k every month the past year, you can afford an extra $2 an hour

  • don’t ask me “is it possible” when I’m focused, I’ll always tell you yes to shut you up so I can think; ask me if it’s possible when you have my full and entire attention

  • “deadlines” aren’t realistic, instead have the developer break down every task individually and give estimate on each task with time for debug, regressions, and tests - don’t ask us for a “general estimate” because we’ll underestimate without thinking fully


Nice, thank you, Michael. I personally definitely should say "good job" out loud more.

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