Studies in Terror: Becoming a People Manager

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I was first given “people management” responsibility when I was in my 20s—and my first two “direct reports” were guys older than my Dad. As it slowly dawned on me that I was responsible not just for “people management” but for these folks’ careers—which were a major focus of their lives—I was terrified.

Once I saw through the corporate euphemisms, I realised:

1) how important being a good manager is (after all, most people don’t leave their company, they leave their boss)
2) that I was so scarred by my own poor experiences with managers that I didn’t know what “good” looked like.

Over the following years I did a bunch of research, got some great mentors, and tested a bunch of different approaches. Let’s talk about how scary and how important great people management is, and how we can get better at it.

Published in: Technology, Business

Studies in Terror: Becoming a People Manager

  1. 1. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   Studies  in  Terror:     Becoming  a  People  Manager  
  2. 2. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   h@p://www.flickr.com/photos/kodomut/3667608102/  
  3. 3. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  4. 4. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   “We  want  to  give  you  people   management  responsibiliPes”  
  5. 5. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  6. 6. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   PEOPLE   MANAGEMENT   I  heard…  
  7. 7. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  8. 8. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  9. 9. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   PEOPLE  MANAGEMENT   This  is  mostly  the  story  of  how     I  realized  it  was  really…  
  10. 10. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   But  first,  let’s  look  at  some  of  the   scary  realiPes…  
  11. 11. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  12. 12. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  13. 13. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   1)  You  (probably)  won’t  have  the   most  experience  
  14. 14. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  15. 15. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   2)  You  won’t  be  the  smartest       (and  if  you  become  the  smartest,  you’re  Doing  It  Wrong)  
  16. 16. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   [I  considered  making  a  collage  of  all  the  people  I’ve   managed  who  are  smarter  than  me,  but  they     a)  wouldn’t  all  fit  on  a  slide  and     b)  I  really  suck  at  collages]  
  17. 17. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   3)  Being  a  good  maker/do-­‐er   doesn’t  equip  you  with  people   management  skills  
  18. 18. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  19. 19. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   4)  These  are  real  people.  With  real   lives,  families,  traumas,  triumphs.       Your  people  will  go  through  things   you  haven’t  had  to  face  yet.  
  20. 20. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  21. 21. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   TradiPonal  management  beliefs   are  a  pile  of  crap   h@p://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elephant_Dung.JPG  
  22. 22. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   WHAT  DOES  WORK?   Sooo….  
  23. 23. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   Across  industries,   across  countries,  the   best  performing  teams   answer  certain   quesPons  posiPvely  
  24. 24. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   Predictors  of  High  Performance   1.  Do  I  know  what  is  expected  of  me  at  work?   2.  Do  I  have  the  materials  &  equipment  I  need  to  do  my  work  right?   3.  At  work,  do  I  have  the  opportunity  to  do  what  I  do  best  every  day?   4.  In  the  last  7  days,  have  I  received  recogniPon  or  praise  for  good  work?   5.  Does  my  supervisor,  or  someone  at  work,  seem  to  care  about  me  as  a   person?   6.  Is  there  someone  at  work  who  cares  about  my  development?   7.  At  work,  do  my  opinions  seem  to  count?   8.  Does  the  mission/purpose  of  my  company  make  me  feel  like  my  work  is   important?     9.  Are  my  co-­‐workers  commi@ed  to  doing  quality  work?   10.  Do  I  have  a  best  friend  at  work?   11.  In  the  last  6  months,  have  I  talked  with  someone  about  my   development?   12.  At  work,  have  I  had  opportuniPes  to  learn  and  grow?  
  25. 25. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  26. 26. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   Understand   MoPvaPon   •   Autonomy   •   Mastery   •   Purpose  
  27. 27. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   Autonomy   1.  Do  I  know  what  is  expected  of  me  at  work?   2.  Do  I  have  the  materials  &  equipment  I  need  to  do  my  work  right?   3.  At  work,  do  I  have  the  opportunity  to  do  what  I  do  best  every  day?   4.  In  the  last  7  days,  have  I  received  recogniPon  or  praise  for  good  work?   5.  Does  my  supervisor,  or  someone  at  work,  seem  to  care  about  me  as  a   person?   6.  Is  there  someone  at  work  who  cares  about  my  development?   7.  At  work,  do  my  opinions  seem  to  count?   8.  Does  the  mission/purpose  of  my  company  make  me  feel  like  my  work  is   important?     9.  Are  my  co-­‐workers  commi@ed  to  doing  quality  work?   10.  Do  I  have  a  best  friend  at  work?   11.  In  the  last  6  months,  have  I  talked  with  someone  about  my   development?   12.  At  work,  have  I  had  opportuniPes  to  learn  and  grow?  
  28. 28. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   Mastery   1.  Do  I  know  what  is  expected  of  me  at  work?   2.  Do  I  have  the  materials  &  equipment  I  need  to  do  my  work  right?   3.  At  work,  do  I  have  the  opportunity  to  do  what  I  do  best  every  day?   4.  In  the  last  7  days,  have  I  received  recogniPon  or  praise  for  good  work?   5.  Does  my  supervisor,  or  someone  at  work,  seem  to  care  about  me  as  a   person?   6.  Is  there  someone  at  work  who  cares  about  my  development?   7.  At  work,  do  my  opinions  seem  to  count?   8.  Does  the  mission/purpose  of  my  company  make  me  feel  like  my  work  is   important?     9.  Are  my  co-­‐workers  commiTed  to  doing  quality  work?   10.  Do  I  have  a  best  friend  at  work?   11.  In  the  last  6  months,  have  I  talked  with  someone  about  my   development?   12.  At  work,  have  I  had  opportuniPes  to  learn  and  grow?  
  29. 29. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   Purpose   1.  Do  I  know  what  is  expected  of  me  at  work?   2.  Do  I  have  the  materials  &  equipment  I  need  to  do  my  work  right?   3.  At  work,  do  I  have  the  opportunity  to  do  what  I  do  best  every  day?   4.  In  the  last  7  days,  have  I  received  recogniPon  or  praise  for  good  work?   5.  Does  my  supervisor,  or  someone  at  work,  seem  to  care  about  me  as  a   person?   6.  Is  there  someone  at  work  who  cares  about  my  development?   7.  At  work,  do  my  opinions  seem  to  count?   8.  Does  the  mission/purpose  of  my  company  make  me  feel  like  my  work  is   important?     9.  Are  my  co-­‐workers  commi@ed  to  doing  quality  work?   10.  Do  I  have  a  best  friend  at  work?   11.  In  the  last  6  months,  have  I  talked  with  someone  about  my   development?   12.  At  work,  have  I  had  opportuniPes  to  learn  and  grow?  
  30. 30. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   What’s  Lem?   1.  Do  I  know  what  is  expected  of  me  at  work?   2.  Do  I  have  the  materials  &  equipment  I  need  to  do  my  work  right?   3.  At  work,  do  I  have  the  opportunity  to  do  what  I  do  best  every  day?   4.  In  the  last  7  days,  have  I  received  recogniPon  or  praise  for  good  work?   5.  Does  my  supervisor,  or  someone  at  work,  seem  to  care  about  me  as  a   person?   6.  Is  there  someone  at  work  who  cares  about  my  development?   7.  At  work,  do  my  opinions  seem  to  count?   8.  Does  the  mission/purpose  of  my  company  make  me  feel  like  my  work  is   important?     9.  Are  my  co-­‐workers  commi@ed  to  doing  quality  work?   10.  Do  I  have  a  best  friend  at  work?   11.  In  the  last  6  months,  have  I  talked  with  someone  about  my   development?   12.  At  work,  have  I  had  opportuniPes  to  learn  and  grow?  
  31. 31. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   CREATE  SPACE  FOR  YOUR  PEOPLE   TO  BE  THE  BEST  THEY  CAN  BE   Your  job  as  a  manager…    
  32. 32. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  33. 33. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   PROTECT  PURPOSE     BE  A  TRANSLATOR  –  MAKE  PURPOSE,   STRATEGY  &  DIRECTION  MAKE  SENSE     CONNECT  WHAT  PEOPLE  ARE  DOING   (AND  CAN  DO!)  TO  OVERALL   IMPORTANT  PURPOSE  
  34. 34. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   h@ps://twi@er.com/Caterina/status/6715084157   BE  A  BULLSHIT  UMBRELLA  
  35. 35. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   ENABLE  AUTONOMY  &  MASTERY   Skills/Knowledge Direction
  36. 36. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   Skills/Knowledge Direction Know what to do, don’t have all the skills to do it Know what to do and equipped to do it Got skills, need direction Huh? Where are we? What are we doing? ENABLE  AUTONOMY  &  MASTERY  
  37. 37. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  38. 38. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   h@p://www.flickr.com/photos/8250578@N06/8625641442/  
  39. 39. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  40. 40. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   h@p://www.flickr.com/photos/provoost/2246718091/  
  41. 41. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   SKILL  DEVELOPMENT     Unconscious Incompetent Conscious Incompetent Conscious Competent Unconscious Competent
  42. 42. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  43. 43. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   DELIBERATE  PRACTICE   •  You  must  be  moPvated  to  a@end  to  the  task  and  exert  effort   to  improve  your  performance.     •  The  design  of  the  task  should  take  into  account  your  pre-­‐ exisPng  knowledge  so  that  the  task  can  be  correctly   understood  amer  a  brief  period  of  instrucPon.     •  You  should  receive  immediate  informaPve  feedback  and   knowledge  of  results  of  your  performance.     •  You  should  repeatedly  perform  the  same  or  similar  tasks.  
  44. 44. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   COACHING:  GROW  MODEL   GOAL   REALITY   OPTIONS   WILL  
  45. 45. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   SWEAT  THE  “SMALL”  STUFF   Autonomy,  mastery  &  purpose  can’t  overrule  or   compensate  for  poor  tools  /  environment  /  lack  of   inclusion  /  lack  of  caring  forever  
  46. 46. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   PAY  ATTENTION  TO  ENERGY   Positive High Low Negative SHINEWHINE toast coast
  47. 47. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   CULTIVATE  CULTURE  &  INCLUSION   This  deserves  a  whole  session  in  its   own  right     One  specific,  powerful  heurisPc   though…  
  48. 48. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   “SOMEONE  LIKE  ME  CAN   BE  SUCCESSFUL  HERE”     Your  ability  to  recruit  &  retain  people  depends  on   how  much  they  can  agree  with  this  statement:    
  49. 49. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager  
  50. 50. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager   CARE    ABOUT  YOUR   PEOPLE   And  the  Most  Important  Thing…  
  51. 51. Meri  Williams,  ChromeRose                            @Geek_Manager     THANK  YOU  FOR  LISTENING  J     GO  FORTH  AND  BE  AWESOME   MANAGERS.       YOUR  PEOPLE  NEED  YOU.  

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