How to Manage Managers
24 September, 2021
I love solving product challenges; figuring out how to tell a story, and having something different than what exists. Being one of the first few employees to be hired in a travel-based company was overwhelming. The CTO was doing a great job, but then COVID-19 kicked in. The travel business was already in jeopardy, and many companies were following the same kind of trends.
Because it is a big market, and we wanted to bring something different on the user-experience side. For me, the biggest challenge was to find how I could make improvements to something. Always gravitating towards those early-stage startups and smaller companies, I used to be a very “keep my head down and take things with a brave face” kind of a person.
Previously, working with managers who would always look at the negatives and not appreciate the hard work that goes on, I would take it. The more experience I had, was more confident and drawn to defend my decisions better at work. I knew how to challenge critique at work now and why people behaved the way they did.
Sometimes you get feedback and suggestions that you thought are not technologically possible, so you learn not just to take criticism but also challenges. Besides, some are caught up in their work because they have a lot on their plate. It is better to take them aside and ask for 1:1. Even during times when I was overworked and stressed, I was still lucky to find people who asked me if I needed help.
When things are not moving according to the plan, it is essential to re-frame them. It all starts from the beginning; when hiring someone, have 1:1s and set clear expectations. We always make the mistake of assuming that everyone knows their job, often forgetting that the expectations change based on their level of seniority. So, these expectations are fundamental right off the bat, and even on the 1:1s.
I was always on the lookout for improvements. I had to make sure that there was an effort to improve because if there was not, then perhaps I was not clear enough as the manager. It would also show if the team members needed additional help. It depends on the personal development of people and how they can grow professionally. Sometimes perceptions might feel a little too biased, so I avoided that from happening.
- Utilizing previous lessons is essential. I had some pretty difficult managers to deal with, so I recalled what I did not like about them.
- Everything is a learning curve. We cannot go to school and learn to be product managers; we understand that from being in different positions. Eventually, everything changes, and it becomes all about the execution of teamwork. Throughout the process, remember to have some good people skills.
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