Team management 101


So, they have assumed that these biases are negative for the efficiency of the business…with no testing, with no evidence, with no guidance on how to overcome them and staff have opened themselves to their employer that they are negatively biased to satisfy an unproven political ideologically.

Sounds like a corruption of clinical psychology and an unethical assault on personal freedom.

But i guess people need to keep a job.

Re watch the Office & don’t be like Brent. Sorry, plenty of constructive stuff above to go on though :slight_smile: .

that isn’t a bad idea…but it does freak me when i can see some of my behaviour in there :wink:

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No, there is plenty of evidence from all sorts of studies that various biases are negative - Are you suggesting that a hiring manager who hires accountants based on breast size is a positive for the business? Are you suggesting that a bias - perhaps a bias for a particular race or sex might be a positive for the business?

Start a new bloody thread will ya. This was meant to be about management experience, not an excuse for you to shit all over another thread with your ideology.


Yeah, take the challenge to bias theories elsewhere lads please.

Indeed you have just identified one of the big issues with this retraining…it has already determined that your company are all racist or sexist, or transphobic which must be a blow for all the employees…no test, no proof, you just are in need of allegedly exposing your bias to your employer (although there is no evidence for this either).

Of course, the problem your company now faces is that you now select three people to recruit that person all of whom share the same set of biases. Way to go, you have just doubled down.

Equally, down the corridor, the hiring whizz kid who usually hires receptionists on their ability to multi task, tackle difficult and rude people, hastily change appointments and present a positive image has just been outvoted because the best candidate happened to have an appearance that worried in case you were called out on it. Thus part of the competitive edge of the company gets blunted.

So there is no evidence that these interventions, as well meaning as they may be, actually work…

not my ideology, but i will call it out where i see it, thanks…

I dont claim to be the worlds best manager, but I’ve learnt a bit a long the way.

Here are my Pearls:

  1. Dont become overly friendly with the people you manage. You should show interest in them as people and you can go for a drink, but dont get too close. The time may come you have to discipline them, fire them, or make them redundant and that is very hard if you are friends.
  2. Maintain professionalism. If you are in the middle quite often you’ll be delivering bad news from above to your people who will complain. Dont go down the route of agreeing and joining in, it will put you in difficult situations. You cant get your people to go along with something if they know you think its bullshit. You can emphasise with them, but dont start bad mouthing the idea.
  3. Which leads me on to the next. What ever you think of the other managers you must keep it yourself. Dont be slagging off the heads of departments. You never know when some might take the opportunity to stab you in the back.
  4. As others have said, treat people as individuals. Learn what makes them tick and work with that. Some love recognition and being noticed, others hate it but deep down want to know that you think they are doing a good job. Feedback is essential, both good and bad. It’s hard to tell someone they are not doing something well, but if you dont tell them they will never know. There are plenty of good books out there on how to do this sort of thing.
  5. Dont assume they will respect you from the off just because you are the boss. Some people are very deferential to status and the hierarchy. Others arent and you have to earn their respect.
  6. Lead with the carrot and not the stick. I’ve always had a fairly relaxed attitude and am not a ball breaker. No one likes those people. Be firm, but be friendly.
  7. When shit goes right give your team credit, when it goes wrong you take the blame. Never tell others in the business that so and so fucked, you fucked up because it’s your team.
  8. Poor performers. Deal with them early. Dont put it off it will snowball. Also though be compassionate. Especially if it’s someone who was performing well, but now isnt. I had a guy once, was a heeat dev, but suddenly was rocking up late, lot of sickness, lot of need to work from home, not delivering. I spoke to him a few times and he said it was fine, but eventually he broke down and said he was being treated for depression and was having suicidal thoughts. We got him some counselling through our EAP and gave him a bit of time off and in the end it righted itself.
  9. If you do ever have to discipline someone do it in private. Never criticize someone in public. Probably sounds obvious but I’ve seen plenty of twats do that.
  10. Communication. Its important to communicate with people about what is going on in the business, the other teams etc. Make them feel involved.
  11. Recognition. Everyone wants recognition in some way or another. Some want you to put them under lights, some want a queit word. It’s really important to recognise peoples effort. This doesnt have to be hard, see the people who put the effort in. This is even more important when you have people below the people you manage. Recognition from the “higher ups” goes a really long way.
  12. Be accessible. Yes as a manager you’ll be I’m a lot of meetings and will be busy. But always make time for your people.
  13. Empower and trust people. Dont treat them like kids.
  14. Focus on the inexperienced. They need the most help from someone experienced, especially a manager. Help them grow.
  15. Be decisive, but dont be a dictator. As a manager it’s your job to make a decision, and when it comes time, bloody well make a decision. But also, canvas your staffs opinion. They will be far more likely to go along with it if they have had the chance to influence and comment on it. Dont issue dictats with no notice.
  16. Dont ever take credit for something one of your team did. Always give them credit. Do that once, no one will ever trust you again.
  17. Get used to not being liked. You are there to managed them, not be their mate, not to do what they want.
  18. Dont be afraid of 360 feedback. If the people you manage arent happy with what you do, do t be afraid to ask them. Because if you dont ask you wont know, but you can be damn sure someone else will ask them how your doing and they wont hold back. I had this recently. They gave me feedback on what I wasnt doing and I adjusted immediately.
  19. Leave your ego at the door. Some of the people below you will be more technically proficient than you. Accept that, sure you have experience and dont diminish that, but there will always be people who know more than you.

Thats what I’ve learnt. I am sure there are more.

Management takes work, I wouldn’t say it’s hard, but you have to put the effort in.

You are going to be great at this. The fact that you are asking for advice already shows you care and want to the best. Many dont give a shit.


Couldn’t have said this better myself.

The only other thing I’d add is the importance of finding a balance between adding value and ability to delegate.

Too far one way and you’re a bottleneck, the other side just a workflow allocator.

I know a few people have mentioned, but pick up a few books / watch a few films about different leaders and take a handful of pointers from their styles.

I’d recommend the score takes care of itself (bill walsh, NFL coach), anything Jack Welch has published and moneyball (the film, brilliant case study of disruptive management).

As a Operational Efficiency guy, I take the teachings of Taiichi Ohno, Donald Wheeler and Clayton Christensen as gospel. When you have a cornerstone for reference, you can’t go far wrong!

Good luck, and enjoy.
The fact that you’re asking these questions proves you’re going to be great!

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This is an amazing post mate, thanks so much for taking the time to put it together. I can tell that you’ve written that from both good and bad experiences, that’s how we all learn ins’t it!

I’ve managed small teams before, with mixed results. My worst results actually in Public Service and I think the penny dropped after my last one. (I was a contractor on Public environment).
Whenever I’ve been hired by Public, it’s always because they want a private sector person to bring new ideas and initiatives. Whilst this is a true sentiment, the reality on the ground is different.
I’ve had a hard time in the past because I couldn’t fathom the Public Service way of thinking, especially with my direct reports. At every opportunity, they would quote ‘policy’ to me and think I was asking something completely unreasonable (like perhaps being ready to start work at 9.00, rather than rock up at 9.00, change shoes, log in, say hello, make a cup of tea and then be ready at 9.20) and a host of other examples.

But then I realised (after leaving), it was me that was out of synch, I was the fish out of water and whilst what I was asking was reasonable in my head, the reality was that I was tilting at windmills. Lesson learned.

That’s not say I will be letting anyone do what they want but I will be respecting ‘their world’ and realise that’s the world I live in now. (and of course, I also benefit from the very same policies that were being thrown at me last time).

I’m worried less about the actual work, than I am about the stuff like, who gets to book the prime school holiday dates, how to make it fair and maintain coverage, who are the perennial moaners, disruptors, that kind of thing.

I saw a quote about managing the other day which said ‘Cover their back but don’t pick up their slack’, which made sense to me in some ways and seemed challenging in others.

The other thing I don’t know is that if and of my DRs applied for my role, because I can imagine that won’t auger well.

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Great stuff mate, thanks for the reading suggestions, I will check them out.

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Yeah that can be tricky. Closest I had was our manager left. A new general manager came in and wanted one of the existing staff members to take their place. This guy, my peer at the time , wanted to split the role, he do all the tech, I do all the management bullshit. I wasnt ready to give the tech so I said no and said to the new GM I’ll take the lot. I got it, he stayed where he was, and eventually left.

That will always be hard. My advice would be get it out early. Have a 1-2-1 with all of them early. Ask that direct question. If any of the say yes I wanted it and i think you’re a dick then you know where you stand. Treat that person fairly as you would and they will probably leave anyway in the coming months.


Great list iwaters
Point 2 I can’t do. Not necessarily bad news, but I if a decision from above I don’t agree with - I’ll follow the order, but I can’t bullshit to my team saying I do.
I’ll explain what the decision is and why from the businesses perspective… And that we have to do whatever to tow the line.
I hate my managers feed me the bullshit like nodding dogs. Id rather just them be honest.

I like that, it’s very to the point but totally valid. Always have their back, but dont take the blame if their not doing what they should be doing.

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Yeah that is a really good point. I’m not a corporate lackey, never have been, never will be. But you have to pick your battles. If its bullshit and has little impact I’ll say so. But if it’s a major shift in direction or priority I have to give them confidence that it is the right thing to do. Even if I think it isnt. Because if I am not full throated in my support they will see right through me.

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One of the ‘advantages’ I have is that I have to do a couple of days ‘pro bono’ next week. This is mainly because I am on hols a week before I start and my Mgr is on hols the following week (so I will be starting a new role, new org, remotely with no Mgr for a week haha).

So we’ve set up a series of introductory Skype ‘meet n greets’ over next Wed/Thurs and the first one is an extended call with my Mgr, so I will be able to asking any thorny questions about team make up/hang ups then. I still have to mange them of course but forewarned and all that.

We had an IT manager start with us a while back and the first few weeks he spent doing all the roles he’d be managing.
So starting with front line tech support.
I thought that was a good way to get involved, understand the roles early doors, see the good and bad and of course meet the team on their terms.


Lots of good advice, but don’t forget your own experiences of being managed. I can still remember a couple of interactions with managers from years ago even though the actual issue being discussed is long since consigned to history.

  1. I was a new graduate, and I went to my boss with a problem. He said “what are you going to do about it?” That is not what I wanted to hear, I was a new graduate, he was my manager, he was supposed to tell me what to do, or at least show some empathy and help!
  2. A few years later, I’m a bit more experienced, I’ve just presented my findings on a problem to a roomful of more senior people and a manager asks “what do you think we should do next?” This was the first time I had been asked for my opinion and not just asked to do something and report back.
    In one sense the 2 conversations are very similar, but it another they are very different. Apart from being more experienced the 2nd time, the simple emphasis of you v. we made a difference between feeling unsupported and feeling empowered but supported.

If you do have any concerns about one of your team, be very careful about what you write about them in an e-mail, even if it’s to HR. Don’t write anything that you wouldn’t want them to read or that you wouldn’t be happy being read in an employment tribunal. It’s much better to have the conversations in person or on the phone (assuming the lines aren’t recorded :roll_eyes:).

One of my colleagues was bemaoning the “weaponisation” of GDPR by disgruntled employees the other day. If there’s any sort of a dispute or if you’re trying to part company with someone, under GDPR it’s incredibly easy for them to issue a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) and the employer then has to spend a lot of time and money pulling the information. I’m pretty sure I could compose the mother of all DSARs that would suck up a tonne of management time and resource and someone, somewhere would have put something that they shouldn’t have in an e-mail that could boost a payoff.

This stuff has always been discoverable, but GDPR makes it so much easier to obtain.

At a previous employer, a member of my team had a son who was at stage school. He got a part in a big West End musical and my staff member made a flexible working request to reduce his hours down to 3 days a week to accommodate the time he had to spend taking his son to the theatre. He concluded that if his request was denied then he would leave and he enclosed a signed letter of resignation. My boss wrote in an e-mail to me and HR that it would be quite opportune if this staff member left so we should reject his request on that basis. He followed up 5 minutes later with a mail questioning how this staff member could afford to work 3 days a week and suggesting that maybe we should performa review to make sure he wasn’t on the take :open_mouth: . I think our HR rep nearly had a heart attack when she saw this in writing :rofl:

On the flipside, if you do have conversations with your staff of an HR nature, make sure you document what has been said so that you have a record in case you need it in the future.

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