Today I had a good chat with my new manager about the change that takes place when one becomes a people manager from having been an top performing individual contributor in the past.
While I have a lot of thoughts on the topic from my team management experience a long time ago, I thought that in this case I'd go and ask one of my former managers that I respect the most at the company.
This was a manager that went to bat for me, when needed, to help me achieve my job faster. One other thing I'll say made a huge difference in working for her was getting very clear guidance on what success looked like for our team so we would know if we had delivered.
When I asked A. L. (her initials) about her management philosophy she boiled it down to the following 4 points:
1) Complete transparency
2. Your team shouldn't work harder than me. I should always play bad cop and take away obstacles
3) Promote my team
4) Manage the bad ones out
Personally I believe this is a pretty solid list of key practices for a good manager to follow, but what made A.L in my opinion a great manager was the following comment she made towards the end of our chat:
I am the exact person I am at home and at work...so I am not role playing
This is probably one of the critical items based on my experience that distinguishes good managers from great managers. A good manager follows the list above, a great manager lives the list!
Thanks A.L. for the great chat today!