Speaker: Ken Kousen
Link to table of contents
- Target audience: professionals who don’t want to move to management
- Conflict with manager is inevitable because want different things.
- Intrinsic motivations include autonomy, using strengthens, promoting learning/development
- As get older, care more about intrinsic needs
- Want respect/rewards, but not accidentally getting promoted into management
- Management wants those things, but only if they make money
- Management evaluated differently. Costs matter.
- Priorities/incentives overlap but are different
- Money includes budget, resources, personnel. Management cares way more about these things than we do. Higher the levels of management think about these even more than your direct supervisor
- If technical problem goes up high enough, conversation about cost – fine, people, etc. The problem itself is secondary
- Try to operate in intersection, but acknowledge discrete parts still happen
Why managers bad at job
- Our supervisors are on lowest rung of management
- Many places, switch job from technical to management so new to role
- Ambitious managers already looking to leave job and move up
- Everyone needs to show confidence and look like know what doing to be trusted with project. Which is very different than school where get called out if wrong.
- Not as technical as employees, especially senior ones.
- Their job isn’t to be a technical person. Others work full time on being technical.
- Know not great at managing yet. We have to train them to become better at their job
- Rookie managers don’t know what is worth discussing vs rubber stamping
Learning in software
- Imposter syndrome is extreme of this
- Professionals working at limit of what know. If well defined, can be outsourced. Don’t need a professional.
- Hard to make leap to OO. We’ve done so long we don’t remember not knowing.
- ”Everything in math is arithmetic because know it already”
- Build professional relationship for as long as work together
- Establish trust that manager will fight organizational battles, look out for best interest, defend when problems arrise
- Consider your manager an ally at a higher level so listened to by other people at that level
- Manager needs to trust you to do your job to the best of your ability or let them know about a problem while still early enough to replan/manage problem. Manager can help you figure out a plan.
- Know your manager and whether can tell about mistakes honesty or if it will backfire
- Manager needs you to support their decisions, at least publicly.
- This is why a high level person brings in their own people
- Goal is not to do everything they tell you, not following blindly,
- Can do nothing or leave. Or…
- Alternative is a long term solution and may not work. May have to tune to circrumstances. Better than doing nothing or leaving.
- Only two messages want to give your boss: ”I got this” (confidence, will take responsibiity) and ”I got your back” (will support publicly, say ”we”)
- Manager knows you don’t know how to do a task when given to you. Need to know when you talk about ”impossible” when real vs venting
- When manager’s manager asks about a problem, say ”we”. Have team own it. Manager’s manager is a manager and knows what you are doing/will view it as loyalty
- Part of your job is to make your manager look good to their manager. Do not violate this. Your manager will know who said it.
- Instead say, ”I think you are wrong, I’d like to appeal to X” and go together. They will likely backup boss and then you listen. Should be issue, not crisis.
- Respond to requests as fast as practical.
- Manager doesn’t care that busy and wait for a response.
- Email template to any long term/open ended request, ”I don’t know, but . Here’s what I do know/think/would go to find out. Do you want me to look into it”. This lets you know if it was a gut reaction thing or a request to spend time on it at the expense of what you were originally doing
- Gets manager a response quickly and gets off your plate
- Most of the time, the manager doesn’t want you to spend time on it
- A good enough answer today is better than a great answer next week
- Book: Evolution of Cooperation.
- Can play at ncase.me/trust
- If only one iteration, makes sense to defect
- Tit for Tat is a top strategy – cooperate on first move an play opponent’s previous move. Favors cooperation. Retaliates/forgives immediately
- Cooperation can emerge naturally as long as both parties recognize will be doing this again.
- Pushing back against manager is scary the first time. Gets easier.
- Retaliation doesn’t have to be symmetrical/job not symmetrical. Can be a conversation with your manager and discuss/negotiate privately and then go back to work
- Balance. Cooperation (I got this), retaliation (push back), forgiveness (back to work)
- Builds up evidence that you are unhappy an tried to deal with it
- Don’t want to surprise manager that leaving. Want change to make it work
- For business conflicts, not harassment.
- If doesn’t work, would have left anyway
- Words used for push back, vary by person. Try on something small. ”Hey, I’m not happy about x”
Your Boss is not your Friend
- This is a trap
- Don’t want to be surprised/hurt when make decision against you.
- Will overshare. Could lose opportunities
Your boss is not your Enemy
- Expensive to replace you
- Boss looks bad if let you go
- Can’t fix micromanagement. Will work out because can’t do management while doing your job
- Flat org is thought of a feature, but means low regard for management skills. Someone needs to do job. Whomever decides your future is your manager regardless of title.
- Important to meet every few weeks. Regular interactions necessary
- “That turns out not be the case” or ”I can see why you might think that” – good phrases for saying wrong
I really need to read the book. I own it, but haven’t gotten to it yet. The talk was great and relatable I definitely need to read the book. I like that there were a lot of stories. I was definitely able to tie them to eamples of things I’ve experienced. Only problem is that Ken ran long and I was late to the next session.