New engineering managers think of the job as a promotion, giving them seniority on engineering tasks and questions. This is a great approach for ensuring they remain junior managers, and unsuccessful leaders at that. It’s hard to accept that “new manager” is an entry-level job with no seniority on any front, but that’s the best mindset with which to start leading.
Congratulations! You’ve progressed to the level where people trust you to manage other humans. Maybe you’ve had some training from your HR department about some basics of management. Maybe you’ve had some great managers in the past you want to emulate. But now the rubber hits the road, and it’s time to put all those thoughts and ideas into action.
First, let’s focus on managing individuals. There are a bunch of books out there that will give you more thoughts and ideas about this topic; my goal here is to give you the basic elements of management as I see them. Once you’re in the management hot seat, how should you think about performing the basic tasks of managing people?
Part of your focus throughout this period of adjustment to management is to figure out your own management style. Many of you will be learning how to manage individuals while simultaneously being responsible for running a team. After all, your team is only as healthy as its individuals, and as the individual manager, you’ll have a huge impact on each person.
We’ll talk about the main tasks required to manage people: