I am not the manager you are looking for

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.


  1. Eric Buckner April 30, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Starts slow clap

  2. Idrees May 1, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Oh my.. You are exactly the manager I can dream to have!!!!

    1. Nick Korbel May 2, 2019 at 2:15 pm

      I’ll send you your endorsement check today 😉

  3. Saleha Ghani May 3, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    You were one of the best managers I’ve had!! Really look up to you as my role model!

  4. John Asermely May 4, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    You might not be the manager some organizations want, but you are the manager all workers want to work for! Great article!

  5. Harris Khan May 6, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    I aspire to be this kind of manager. This is my new manager manifesto.

  6. Adnan May 6, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Very well put. I always enjoyed the time I spent under your leadership.

  7. ADRIANO DE OLIVEIRA GONCALVES May 28, 2019 at 7:58 am

    Great! That’s a good goal to leadership.

  8. Christopher Rasch June 20, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Aw, this is a great list. I wish more managers thought/acted this way (or felt more free to act this way).

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