Management best practices

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Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito [Public domain]
  1. Research and reuse successful work practices from other fields. For example, software engineering best practices have had decades to evolve.
  2. Give promotions without being asked — this is the cost-effective approach when compared with the alternatives.
  3. Understand that promotions and shoutouts are an implicit announcement of your values; use these levers to incentivize towards those values. Be wary that without transparency into your decision-making logic, these actions could backfire, signaling your incompetence in the assessment of contributions.
  4. Ensure that a higher salary is correlated with more scope and accountability.
  5. Be consistent and predictable in your actions and reactions. This builds confidence in your judgement. The path towards consistency and predictability is through patience.
  6. Give credit where it’s due; encourage everyone to do the same. This inspires teamwork.
  7. Encourage collaboration and never be the source of division. Teams outperform individuals.
  8. Delegate and ensure effective division of tasks to talent. Delegation frees up your time for projects that are uniquely your responsibilities. Effective division of tasks such that they form a partition with respect to the team increases efficiency and prevents conflicts.
  9. Take notes and be detail-oriented; similarly, make sure to express yourself clearly and with detail. Details matter at every level of management.
  10. Investigate, take steps, and communicate progress towards removing conflicts and obstacles. Inaction or unclear actions erodes trust and efficiency.
  11. Review and change processes and tools, not people. Often conflicts and obstacles are the outcome of imperfect organizational process or tooling rather than low individual performance. Don’t make it personal.
  12. Don’t let the team know or show that you’re under pressure; they might mistake it for your frustrations with something that they have done.
  13. Treat every person with the utmost respect, every day. Never talk down.
  14. Hire and don’t be intimidated by people more knowledgeable than yourself — they worked hard to get here and they make you look good.
  15. Appreciate everyone’s expertise and point-of-view and allow your mind to be changed. The elusive business-saving innovation can come from anyone — create repeatable processes that allow for the incorporation and implementation of those ideas. This is the more cost-effective approach when compared with the alternatives.
  16. Don’t step on other managers’ toes by approaching their team directly. The time savings are inevitably negated by severed trust, reduced team focus, and inefficient allocation of projects. Respect the chain-of-command and maintain unity of command.
  17. Don’t set artificial deadlines as they are demotivating. Externally, negotiate deadlines with stakeholders only after input from the team. Be a good representative, respect the craft.
  18. Understand company strategy and its evolution. It is your responsibility to keep your team up-to-date.
  19. Challenge assumptions and push towards solutions that lead to wins for both the business and the customers, both today and in the long run. Believe that people can achieve great things and let them know; the results will continually surprise you.
I changed my mind about joining a startup once they hired their first woman engineer. Representation matters!
Many good points here.

Management theorist ·

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