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October 20, 2009

Disclaimer: I am not a manager and have never been one.

I spend a lot of my time reading (books, blogs, magazines, etc), researching new techniques, asking/answering questions, writing code, writing this blog, and numerous other activities all to become a better software developer.In the information technology field it is necessary to do all these activities.

One has to stay current and improve on all facets of his/her field to become a better employee. It is relatively straight forward what one can do to become a better software developer, however, becoming a better manager (in any field) is a little less straight forward.

Managers seem to concentrate on improving processes and reporting/analysing data. It seems from my point-of-view very difficult to increase one’s “manager skills” similar to a wielder increasing his/her welding skills.

So the question arises;
How do managers become better managers?

Maybe it is the subtle things that help managers improve.

  1. Be aware of employees’ moral and why it is in its current state.
  2. Understand what your employees are doing and how hard they work.
  3. Read and research about your industry.
  4. Know what the industry standards are (work environment, process, pay, etc).
  5. Care.

From → management

  1. There is a misconception of what a manager actually is. A 'manager' manages a budget, they don't necessarily have people reporting to them. You're talking more about a leader, who may not always be (but often is) called a manager.

    Leadership is about helping your employees improve themselves. So I think in this sense what you said is mostly correct. However there are situations where your leadership style must change to help your employees grow. For instance, in some cases you may need to tell them directly what to do and how to do in (directive), in which case some of what you said is not relevant. In other situations you can allow them to pretty much do whatever they want (supporting) and most of what you said applies. If you are supporting and the employee should be directed, then they are going to feel as if you don't care because you are not giving them the guidance they need. On the other hand, if you're directing and they need supporting leadership then they're going to feel underappreciated and micromanaged.

    Bottom line is that leadership should be based on the situation — both the employee you're leading and their expertise and motivation with the particular task.

    Disclaimer: The above is just the theory that I was taught, it may not be the all-encompassing 'correct management style'.

  2. Great stuff Mike.

    I agree with pretty much every thing you said. So, how when you evaluate a manager/leader it will primary be based on the employees' performance under the leader?.

    I like the disclaimer. I doubt there is an all-encompassing 'correct management style'. Like you were hinting at how you lead/manage depends on so many variables.

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