Good managers, what they do, how they think & act.
Good managers are skilled at asking questions that give their team members a new perspective on the problem and reach the right solution on their own.
Good managers listen, then listen some more, and then some more.
Good managers address context first, then content
They don’t just stick a new process as a band-aid over deep culture wounds & hope that the pain goes away. They know that most problems are interpersonal problems at their core. They have a knack for identifying the root cause
Good managers use their eloquence, charisma, and writing skills as tools, never as weapons.
Good managers know that, above all else, they are agents of their company. Their default mode is to make and facilitate company-optimal choices.
Good managers know that fixing broader company culture is an important part of their role as a designated leader within the company.
Good managers put their team members above their own self-interest when the two are in conflict.
Good managers understand that the long game is all about people
They put an individual’s mental & physical well-being above short term OKRs & results. They pay keen attention to a team member’s feelings in addition to their spoken words & can detect dissonance between the two
Good managers consistently get results through their team.
They have high standards for inputs, outputs, and outcomes. They aren’t satisfied with just meeting the minimum permissible bar for metrics, product quality, customer satisfaction, team collaboration, and so on.
Good managers are proactive about their team members’ career growth. They don’t dread career conversations with team members, they actively invite such conversations.
Good managers don’t have just one go-to management style nor do they have a notion of “THE ideal employee”. Good managers aim to create an inclusive & optimal environment for each individual, based on their specific strengths, weaknesses, preferred style of learning & working
Good managers can discern good intent from bad. They have zero tolerance for self-serving behavior that sabotages the team or the company, even if it’s coming from an otherwise highly competent team member.
Good managers are confident & secure in their role.
They model High Agency.
They have a mature attitude & avoid pettiness.
They know it’s fine to express vulnerability.
They say “I don’t know” when that’s true.
They love learning.
They exude presence.
Last but not least:
Good managers value clear thinking, sound judgment, & wisdom. They try their best, but also realize they (& others) are fallible & anyone can have a bad day. They know that their own growth as a manager isn’t a binary quantity, it’s a continuous process.
I’ve personally gone from being a terrible manager 13 yrs ago to being just ok today. For many years in between, I actively avoided managing people because I knew I wasn’t good at it & didn’t enjoy it. That changed for me as I learned & discovered some of what you have just read.
That’s all for this thread.
If you’re a manager or want to be one, I wish you all the best in your journey. And if you are an individual contributor, I hope this context can be useful for you when you’re choosing your next role & manager.
Back to the top of this thread:
Want to explore this topic further?
Some references in the next few tweets👇🏾
On recommended books for aspiring and new'ish managers, along with links and a one-line summary of each book:
Don't view questions as a sign of weakness:
Example questions to ask as a product leader, when evaluating product decisions:
Focusing on asking questions, rather than on winning a debate:
On using frameworks that help team members arrive at the solution by themselves:
On addressing Context before Content
On writing more clearly:
On charisma & wisdom:
On asking a manager how they rank Employee, Company, and Self:
On optimizing for people:
On good/bad intent and its power over everything else:
On being okay with saying in 1-on-1s that you need time to think:
On High Agency:
On what not to do as a manager — the 7 Manager Anti-Patterns:
On picking a manager (when you can do so):
On Product Management Leadership:
A mega-thread on PM Leadership:
Managers need to combat Apple Pie Positions within the company where it makes sense:
Managers of product teams (engineering, design, pm, etc.) need to look for biases that lead to unsuccessful & low impact products. They need to look within themselves first, and then within their teams:
How your team, org, company prioritizes certain skills & traits is vital. The priority order will get deeply embedded in the culture and will ultimately 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 your culture. So best to be very intentional about it.
Glad this thread has resonated with so many folks.
An updated version of this content is now available as an article on LinkedIn, if you want to read it in one place, bookmark it, or share with colleagues & friends who don't use Twitter 🔗
On organizations and culture:
You can follow @shreyas.
Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.
Enjoy Threader? Sign up.
Since you’re here...
... we’re asking visitors like you to make a contribution to support this independent project. In these uncertain times, access to information is vital. Threader gets 1,000,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Your financial support will help two developers to keep working on this app. Everyone’s contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support Threader by becoming premium or by donating on PayPal. Thank you.