Remote-team managers can learn a lot from open-source communities

My latest in Quartz… It is truly a difficult and emotionally exhausting time to be a manager. Even those who are used to managing remotely are having to navigate the shifting expectations and chaos of disrupted lives and disrupted businesses. Of course, some people deal with that level of disruption by trying to increase control. […]

Read More

The only truthful answer to any question about management

My latest in Quartz… With a few other people, I run a Slack chat group for engineering managers. We’ve made some deliberate choices—for example, we don’t have a channel for #inclusion. Every so often this comes up, and we invoke our argument: Inclusion is central to good management, so all channels are inclusion channels. We […]

Read More

Mastering New Leadership Styles

“The best leaders master multiple leadership styles”, blithely comments some post on leadership. OK, including one written by me. But how? Many leaders are overly reliant on a style and this can hold them back. Generally leadership styles are a function of emotional intelligence, and working on emotional intelligence, such as working on becoming more […]

Read More

How to build—and manage—a self-improving team

My latest in Quartz… A lot of things in management become clearer when you realize it’s much easier to measure a team’s progress than its state. A team produces 30 units of “x” in a week. Is this good? Well, we could start by asking what the value of each unit is, or by looking […]

Read More

Why a good boss likes it when people complain

My latest in Quartz… I know some managers say “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions,” but personally I don’t subscribe to it. I love when people complain to me. Of course, complaining is a national past time for the British, and we don’t just limit ourselves to complaining about the weather, or the poor […]

Read More

As a leader, your job should change every six months even if you stay put

My latest in Quartz… Leadership roles evolve, especially through periods of transition. As a leader, I have found my own role changing as challenges on the team change—around every four months I realize everything is fundamentally different, and the way I need to spend my time changes, too. Recently the number of my direct reports more […]

Read More

Answer these 10 questions to understand if you’re a good manager

My latest in Quartz… Something I struggled with as a new manager was finding a sense of accomplishment, and as I’ve moved on to manage managers, I’ve seen this become a challenge for them, too. It’s hard to find the right success metrics upon which to judge our work because our output is to make […]

Read More

The first two questions to ask when your team is struggling

My second article in Quartz… I’ve never stepped into a leadership role without it quickly becoming clear why a new leader was needed. I think it’s normal for companies to hire new leaders when there are problems that need to be addressed. So I suspect that as the congratulations die down, it’s also normal to […]

Read More

Understanding how process impacts outcome can help avoid useless meetings

My first article in Quartz! Earlier this year, when I was learning how to facilitate a specific type of workshop, a colleague revealed the secret to making it great: understanding the outcome and keeping it in mind throughout the entire process. If the team isn’t focused on the outcome, than they’re just performing a process. […]

Read More

On Boiling Frogs and Drowning Rats

Today's management lesson: "You have to boil people like frogs, not drown them like rats" — @catehstn — Beau (@beaulebens) June 25, 2018 Beau recently tweeted an observation I made to him, which people reacted to… Something to do with “plague animals” all “ending up dead”. And well… maybe it isn’t my best management metaphor. […]

Read More