středa 18. května 2016

Do managers deliver nothing or everything?

Firstly, you may ask, what kind of a topic is this and what it does at my blog... like: "What? Does he really want to write about managers? About work? What the...?"

Let me explain. Last summer (2015) I switched to managerial position at work. By managerial, in my particular case, I mean true people management. Important to distinguish because we also have technical team leaders and sometimes a manager is also a team leader and is responsible both for people and for the product. I'm coming from Quality Engineering world and I am so lucky that I have an awesome technical team leader by my side so I can fully focus on people and don't need to split my effort.

So, approximately 10 months of "experience" now (lol!) -- I'd love to deliver 15 years of true managerial experience condensed here but you will need to wait 14 years for me to be able to do that!!

After these moths I started to feel I finally have a topic to write about, something I can deliver and share with you. It's my personal experience, it might be silly, it might be obvious, it might be... you know what? I don't care what it might be and I will just jot it down.

Do managers deliver nothing or everything?

I've been doing QE work for 3,5 years. Before that I was working 2 years part time as a Java developer for a very small company. Before that I was playing with code, trying to program simple games, learn new languages, etc. for let's say at least 4 years. It means 9!! years of "full" delivery!

I was delivering tangible results. The code. The working prototypes. The small game. I was able to see results of my work IMMEDIATELY! This is so awesome at programming and it still fascinates me. You sit down, type the code, compile, run and you can actually SEE! what you did, what you created and you can see it just NOW!

But these days it's a completely different story and to be honest I wasn't completely comfortable with that switch and I am still not 100% comfortable with delivering intangible results. It's getting better and better every day, especially while you are hearing any kind of positive feedback and when you are assured that your steps and moves were right and, during the time, those changes led to general improvements.

This is my REWARD now! You know, humans, as dopamine-driven creatures would love to see results immediately every time. I personally believe that as a manager you need to go out of your comfort zone and simply accept the fact that actions you are taking at THIS MOMENT will cause impact in the near or far FUTURE. If you can't deal with that, don't do people management. It will harm the people around, the team and most importantly, you.

My day is different and my feelings at the end of a day are completely different. For almost a decade a was falling asleep with a warm feeling that I delivered something today. New code, new test written, new function implemented, something verified, checked, delivered presentation on technical stuff, etc. It's so cool when you are commuting back home after 5 added customer-related tests into the product test suite. Good job [me], you say while looking out of a bus/car window.

Now -- it's another story :) Meetings, ton of meetings, meetings with people, meetings with teams, projects, face-to-face, one-on-one and all these buzzwords. But ask yourself -- what did I do today? What did I deliver? Was that nothing? Or everything?

Can you even deliver something while talking to your colleagues? What if the talking (OMG and LISTENING!! as well) itself is now your delivery? How can you capture that? How can you feel rewarded? Can you? Did you deliver something? Something real?

Time helps! I love time! Time also scares me while I am getting older and older and see how fast time goes around. But time helps me here. Time is here to show me I did something good and I did something wrong and gives me the opportunity to learn from that. After some time though, naturally :)

I believe, as a manager, you need to be looking at your actions and at your deliveries retrospectively. This is so tough when you are starting! Because you don't have any reference points so far and you need to be very patient, unfortunately. If I ever have a new manager by my side I will explain him this fact first to mitigate starting frustration that might come and strike.

Remember that your actions will take time to be reflected and you will be REWARDED LATER! Wait and continue delivering "SEEDS"! Same as a tree or beans. Beans are even faster :) You plant it and you need to wait to see results and sweet fruit. In the end it's so simple. It's just unnatural because of "no-dopamine-now" effect :)

So, to close it somehow, do managers deliver nothing or everything?  


At this particular moment it might seem they deliver nothing but in a long run they can deliver a lot. Empowering and helping people around is so powerful and that's why I chose this path. It feels like I go through a dense forest with many trees where I can't see anything... and after some time there are days where I leave that forest and suddenly standing at the top of the mountain! Finally.

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