Manager: Year One
5 min read

Manager: Year One

Manager: Year One

(This is a blog form of a talk from a recent tech event)

10 years ago; my daughter was born. At the time I was working shifts as a backend/data engineer. So I applied for some jobs and landed one.

I quickly realised that I was way out of my depth.

I recently looked back to see what my own first year as a manager was like, and have noticed 2-3 similar things in all the managers I've helped over the years.

So if I was going to give myself of 10 years ago any advice; here is what it would be.

In my experience, going into management is generally the reaction to a manager leaving your organisation. In the rare cases were management is planned, this is a far smoother transition.

My biggest mistake was not understanding that parts of my role I was now entry-level and had to improve; fast.

What advice would I give myself?

In my first year as a manager, I read so many books.

Reading List
My current backlog πŸ˜ƒ I don’t have a big enough ego to tell you that the following books will change your life. In fact, what I probably want to do with this page is to curate a collection of resources that I personally have found extremely useful… just encase you

Again, another innocent thought was I could still continue to build things at a pace and do the management stuff on the side.

I had to flip my thinking.

COVID has made this so much worse. Engineers all over the world have a filled up LinkedIn mailbox from recruiters promising them that the grass is so much greener at a brand new Crypto Startup πŸ€‘.

As a manager, I took anyone leaving extremely personally; you can't survive doing that. I've likely seen nearly 100 or so people leave my teams over the past 10+ years.

Write your teams down on a bit of paper and understand what you would lose if one of them quit. Repeat this for every single human.

Maybe my empathy increased due to being a new father also, but I sure didn't have the amount of empathy I do now 10 years ago. A really nice framework to better improve your empathy with your direct reports is BICEPS.

<p>Diversity and Inclusion Work, Coaching, and More by Paloma Medina</p>

Oh no. That dreaded phrase; "I'm making myself redundant." My muscle memory reply to that phrase is; "do your team know?"

Those three bullet points to me, sound like a bad manager.

You need to tell your team if you are working on making yourself redundant... or else you're just in one of the other 3 boxes.


I've written about this too.

The Ideal Senior Engineer?
IntroductionThe vast majority of my writing is around the act of leadership and generally how I tend to manage the humans in my organisation. I enjoy writing about being a manager and everything it entails, but I am 100% convinced that you should only start managing humans after you have

"If I was to change one thing about my career so far, I would have stayed a snr eng for longer. I would have built bigger things. I would have solved harder problems in different settings. I would have learned how to be a manager from working under a ton of different ones. I would have broken things on a bigger scale."

I'm not sure if I liked it after my first year... as it was a really hard and lonely first year. I stuck in, however, learned from my mistakes, helped get things moving and ended up working with some really awesome teams.

In my experience, going into management is generally the reaction to a manager leaving your organisation. If it is... realise that this is a brand new job, you likely will do a bad job to start with but it gets better.

When it does get better, make sure you celebrate those wins whether they are big or small; it doesn't really matter.