I’ve been sitting on this post for a while as I’ve reflected on my past few management roles. Over the past 5 or so years managing software teams, I’ve come to realize that I’m not the manager that some organizations want. I just don’t fit. That’s ok with me.
I’ve worked places that wanted to get the best out of their people and I’ve worked at places that want to get the most out of their people. I want to help create environments where people can be their best.
You want long hours, I am going to find a sustainable pace
You want meetings, I am going to foster collaboration
You want someone to get angry when things go wrong, I am going to smile and make things right
You want someone who is going to critique, I am going to coach
You want someone to create a sense of urgency, I am going to create a sense of purpose
You want someone who is going to apply pressure, I am going to create a place where it is safe to fail
You want someone to define timelines, I am going to define increments
You want a product roadmap, I am going to deliver on the product vision
You want promises, I am going to experiment
You want accountability, I am going to empower
You want someone to take control, I am going to give control
You want someone to give commands, I am going to give autonomy
You want someone who is going to manage, I am going to lead
To borrow from (and invert) the agile manifesto – while there is value in the things on the left, I value the ones on the right more.
I just may not be the manager you’re looking for.