Chapter 79. Six Tips for a New Manager

Akash Bhalla

It’s been an interesting transition moving from the role of an individual contributor to that of someone who helps look after a team of people. Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Be a Zero

In the book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Chris Hadfield talks about the concept of how in any situation you can be either a “minus one,” a “zero,” or a “plus one.”

As a new manager joining a team, there will be an innate desire to try to prove yourself as immediately productive. This is often echoed as conventional wisdom because you try your hardest to be a +1 and make your presence felt.

However, the reality is that most of the time you won’t have enough context of a new situation to be a positive influence, and despite your best intentions you end up being a net negative.

So, be a zero.

Listen and understand before you try to change something.

2. Learn to Say “Yes”

When I think back over some of the managers I’ve worked for, they’ve often carried an air of hurriedness around them, which created an invisible barrier. As time went on, I went to these types of managers less and less, and the gap between us widened.

As a direct result, I’ve made a conscious effort to always respond with a “yes” whenever someone asks for a minute of my time. Try your best to remove any conscious or unconscious barriers that ...

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