re: Which qualities were exhibited by good managers you've had? VIEW POST

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Not all of these were in one manager and I've had more bad ones than good ones.

  1. Acted as a "spear catcher" for adminis-trivia stuff and pushed back from product owners and upper management.

  2. Gave positive reinforcement rather than negativity

  3. Did not micromanage

  4. Was honest with the team and product owners and didn't try to lie or obfuscate bad news or problems.

  5. Was accountable, meaning that they took responsibility for problems and didn't try to blame them on the team or elsewhere.

While I agree with your points, I do have a bit of an issue with your "Treated me like a friend" point. Based on my experiences, I don't think this works well. There's the risk of being accused of favoritism (or worse) in everything from work assignments to having to select who to fire when a "reduction in force" decree comes along. A manager can, and should, be friendly but they probably shouldn't be or act like an actual friend because of the issues it can cause over time.

That said, there are managers and executives who take it too far the other way, essentially acting unfriendly or aloof to employees. That was my experience at the last few companies I worked at. I never saw anyone on the executive staff outside of big "all hands" meetings. I never saw them speaking to anyone casually in the hall or breakroom. In contrast, where I work now the company president and executives frequently talk to employees and make a strong effort to great them by name, that's been a refreshing change.

 

Thanks for sharing your experience. I too have had (way) more bad ones than good.

I was hesitant to list "Treated me as a friend", but that is a quality I've noticed in good managers and emulated as a manager. It was a double edge sword. On one hand, it gave me the ability to build trust and get things done. On the other hand, it made firing that much more difficult.

However, IMO that isn't a good enough reason to distance yourself from your subordinates. I've had many difficult conversations without hiccups and didn't have to sugarcoat them.

At one company, part of the executive team and HR disliked the fact that I was close to everyone in my org. However, it shouldn't matter as long as one can get the job done. I'm not talking about being best buddies, but there's no need to be superficial either.

I've done this as a CTO and as a manager in other roles.

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