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Managing During Hard Times

Nono Guimbi

Engineering Manager at Airbnb

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Problem

Being a manager in a company where everything is going smoothly is actually pretty easy. But managing in a company that is facing different kind of challenges like layoffs, reorgs, or stock going down drastically can be very challenging.

Actions taken

When everything is shaky, it is important to make sure that your engineers can still feel connected to you and to the company. I have helped my team stay connected with the company's new strategies by making sure that they understood why we were adopting this strategy and pursuing those goals. Being able to prove and convince your people that the things we are working on are key for the success of the company will make them feel empowered. When a company is shaky, engineers are really concerned and feel anxious that they could lose their job too. Your role as a manager is to make sure that they regain the confidence in the company. It is important to maintain a close relationship with your people and to make yourself available, keeping the door open for any kind of conversations.

Lessons learned

Purpose and Alignment are key. Being present, having a close/transparent relationship with your team is determinant for them to navigate successfully through hard time. Demonstrating empathy for them will reinforce your relationship and increase the mutual trust. Your team relies on you.


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Nono Guimbi

Engineering Manager at Airbnb


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