Shreyas Doshi+ Your Authors @shreyas early PM & first PM lead @stripe. formerly a PM lead @twitter @google @yahoo. I share offbeat ideas hereβ€”useful for some, useless for many, not for everyone ❀️ Jul. 25, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

Some managers are clearly great, some are clearly terrible. It’s quite easy to spot these extremes.

But how can we spot the 𝘒𝘱𝘱𝘒𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘡𝘭𝘺-𝘨𝘰𝘰π˜₯ 𝘣𝘢𝘡 𝘒𝘀𝘡𝘢𝘒𝘭𝘭𝘺-𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺-𝘣𝘒π˜₯ managers at our company?

A thread of 7 Manager Anti-Patterns:

1/ The Make-Common-Enemies Manager

Loves talking about how certain other departments in the company are so incompetent. Can get very popular with team members as a result. Very poisonous for the org. Might not have overtly malicious intent, often just ignorant. Usually coachable

2/ The Be-More-Like-Me Manager

Usually someone who was very competent as an IC & hasn’t yet learned effective mentorship. Can be frustrating for team members who have different or complementary skills because much of the advice can be boiled down to β€œI used to just do X, Y, Z”.

3/ The Look-How-Smart-I-Am Manager

Enjoys bringing up his team members’ flaws with trusted peers & with his own manager (β€œcan you believe Alice said 𝘡𝘩𝘒𝘡 in a client meeting?”). Typically is not yet feeling secure in his own role as a manager & feels the need for validation.

4/ The Means-To-An-End Manager

Views team members as agents whose main purpose is to further his own goals & career. Very business-like in dealings. Achieves short-term results. Team is usually very unhappy. With charisma, may be viewed by company leadership as β€œtop talent”.

5/ The Lets-Be-Buddies Manager

A relationships-person who thinks that a good manager must be a best friend of his direct reports. Often is a strong advocate. Is problematic because usually not possible to establish same type of rapport with everyone on the team, makes favorites.

6/ The People-Pleaser Manager

Treats pleasing peers & superiors as existentially important. Can be perceived as very collaborative & effective in some company cultures, but is bad for team members because will always prioritize pleasing peers/superiors over valid team interests.

7/ The Rearrange-Deck-Chairs Manager

An offshoot of #4, this is typically an org leader who often gets promoted without achieving actual results. Engages in constant process changes & org re-shuffles to demonstrate will & effort (& buy more time). Team suffers constant whiplash.

Now, I know these anti-patterns look β€œobviously bad” when framed like this. That should be no surprise, because that’s exactly what happens when we filter out organizational noise to understand the root causes, the modus operandi, & the pernicious effects of these behaviors.

And when we give a name to a collection of such behaviors, we make it much easier for teams & senior leadership to confront the issues & talk about the reality of the situation.

And that can be the first & the most important step towards making our company better πŸ‘πŸΎ

Related thread, on identifying problematic senior leadership archetypes during the hiring process (because preventing the problem > solving the problem)

Related, 3 tweets on picking the right manager (part of a mega-thread on PM leadership):

By popular demand after I posted this thread, here's a thread on Good Managers:


You can follow @shreyas.



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