People Management: Getting Started

For many fast-growing companies, introducing a management role feels, at best, like a waste of time, or at worst, like the beginning of big company ills: more meetings, slower decision making, political maneuvering. You can almost hear the protests of early employees ringing in the hallway: “We’re going corporate!”

But despite the potential objections, an explicit focus on people management is vital to company success, particularly at fast-growing companies. With proper training and a healthy culture, people managers can help teams scale by maintaining morale, ensuring alignment between work assignments and company goals, resolving disputes, and preparing the engineering team for the next phases of growth.

Consider these problematic scenarios:

  • “At one point, my manager had up to 70 reports. Our feedback meetings were worse than useless. He basically cut-and-pasted my self-review with a few quotes from what my teammates had said about me...”

  • “I’ve been at the company for six months and I’ve never had a one-on-one meeting with my manager. I’ve had a few different ones, but I’m actually not sure who my manager is right now.”

  • “On my first day, I was issued my laptop and badge by IT and then told to go to my manager’s office. I wandered around until I found it, but she wasn’t there. I waited in the hallway for two hours. Luckily, some former coworkers from my previous job found me and took me to lunch.”

Any veteran of a fast-growing team can ...

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