5 Management lessons I learnt after starting up
Since I started my company eight months ago, which provides Interviewing-as-a-Service, I have been through an amazing learning experience. I sucked as a manager, before. I hated Abstract. I hated Meetings (I still do). I hated Unpredictability. Not that I love them these days. But I have learnt how to manage them. And my start-up taught me these invaluable lessons.
I reflected back and compiled 5 key lessons that I would like to share. Not every lesson might be relevant to you.
Break Rules while Hiring. Right from Screening by GPA.
We started with a crazy rule when we went about hiring our first developer.
“Somebody with a great GPA at college”
It took us nowhere. Reason, GPA is not a 100% predictor variable for coding success. Filtering by GPA is a lazy way to eliminate the candidates that you would not want to call for interviewing.
We reversed. We took the road that is not taken. We didn't bother about GPA or Backlogs (Arrears). All we did, was give the candidates 3 days to work with us. Evaluated motivational levels, personality and coding energy. We looked for something extra too. 1 unique character trait.
We got our first awesome software developer !
Take the road not taken
Customer or Vendor. Treat them the same.
Vendors are your enablers. Treat them good. Treat them like how you would treat your Customer.
Vendors don’t have to wait in your Reception Lounge, while you wrap up with your meetings. You won’t do that to your customer.
Vendors should also be treated with a meal, if you fixed up an afternoon lunch.
Respect your vendors; you will get magic out. If they don’t, you chose the wrong vendor. At least, you did your part to keep them happy.
It’s OK to share your weaknesses with your team. You are not super-human.
I always imagined that the Executive Management team are super-humans. They cannot go wrong. They are the best out of the sieve.
Till I became one.
Sharing your weakness with your team doesn't reflect bad on you as a leader. It’s OK to share that you suck.
The response would be amazing, as your team would now share where they falter and collectively can work towards fixing it.
Mentoring is more of an innate character, than an acquired skill.
The toughest job as a leader is to Inspire. To get Respected. And to be recognized as a mentor.
Mentoring is a character. You mentor somebody on certain skill or on personality. The skill is an acquired one, but mentoring (contributing to somebody’s success without expecting any returns) defines a personality trait. Not every highly skilled professional can be a mentor.
If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants (Isaac Newton)
Be a light house
Play It Yourself at least ONCE.
Once I had asked my team to churn out a report in Tableau. They came back and told me it would take an hour to get that report done. I had used Cognos & Business Objects in my past and getting a pixel-perfect report was not as challenging, as my team narrated to be done using Tableau.
Till I tried it myself. It was a pain to get a perfectly aligned report in Tableau. Certainly, the product is not sold for that purpose.
In another instance, I always thought what was the big deal in managing Balance Sheets and Expenses, till I tried it.
Playing It Yourself at least ONCE makes you appreciate the corners that you hate to take, which your team is handling everyday.