How to Be an Effective New Manager

Eduardo Bellani

Head of Technology at Brick Abode



"I was a developer for around 10 years before I transitioned into management. As an individual contributor (IC) you are the maker, working on various tasks to solve a problem. Your main duty is to be knowledgeable about a given area and focus on that one specific point. You spend a serious amount of time dedicated to that subject and, consequently, to resolving deep problems in that area in order to make the larger mechanism function. Therefore, it can be quite a jolt when an IC moves on to a management position. In this role one must take a step back from the front lines and more so guide and observe the team members. In my opinion, the best way to make this transition is to change your mindset on how you approach the work."

Actions taken

"As a manager I have found that instead of maintaining focus on one area you must keep an eye out and pay attention to all things. To do this, you should have a Taoistic mindset. That is to say that the emphasis should be on harmonizing the overall situation. There isn't a lot of acting, in the sense of getting involved, but more so observing and making small nudges here and there. As a manager, you should have a grasp of what is going on with your team and how the members of your team are getting on. Never let someone stew in a corner or go down in flames. If you approach a managerial position with this mindset you will be successful in your new role.

To go about doing this, I use my calendar to schedule a meeting with every person on my team at least once every 10 days. I have a structured calendar with half hour one-on-one time slots where we set a time and I fill in my direct report's name. Of course, if we need more time I will allot more, but every week and a half I want to talk with that person about their job, how they are feeling, and what their current situation looks like for them. I have a semi-structured interview with them that includes a set of three to four questions that I will ask and an open-ended question of 'What am I missing here?' This gives them a chance to talk openly about a topic of their choosing."

Lessons learned

"There's an ancient Egyptian story I find interesting that can be directly applied to this philosophy. In the story, the king is represented as an eye, the all-seer. The eye symbolizes attention and therefore is a representation of the king. This holds true for management as well. To be successful as a manager, my job is to pay attention to and observe my direct reports."

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Eduardo Bellani

Head of Technology at Brick Abode

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementPerformance ReviewsFeedback TechniquesCareer GrowthCareer ProgressionIndividual Contributor Roles

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