Always Hire Experienced and Effective Managers to Lead a Team: Part 1

Always Hire Experienced and Effective Managers to Lead a Team: Part 1

It may seem obvious but if you are running a company, effective managers should ALWAYS be hired. Leigh Branham, author of “The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave”, interviewed over 4,000 employees who voluntarily left their employers since 1998. She found that there were four areas that were linked to their departure: trust, hope, respect, and competency (training).

What is a Manager?

I’ve worked in tech for over a decade. I started at the bottom as an HR assistant filing I-9s, answering phones, and running errands for the HR team. As I worked my way up through recruiting, I’ve learned a lot. I share that with you here.

A manager is defined as a person who is responsible for controlling, administering, or operating all or part of a company or similar organization. He or she is in charge of the activities, tactics, and training a team in order to maintain or transition to a smooth operation.

What are the expectations?

These are the key traits and responsibilities that are expected from a competent manager.

Remember, the goal of every manager is three-fold:

  1. Every team member is in the right seat on the bus –  a busful of competent and exceptional employees operating in their skillset.
  2. Organizational operations are seamless.
  3. The organization is retaining its best employees.

Here are the essential traits to look for in an effective manager:

  1. Consistency. (Is this person the same person today as she was last week?) TRUST
  2. Exceptional communication skills. (Are there vestiges of narcissism, hidden agendas, or brown-nosing embedded in his communication praxis?) RESPECT – as Aretha would say…
  3. The ability to give authentic praise. When an employee displays an exceptional work ethic, the manager should be able to recognize and praise that employee accordingly. This inspires employees to do their best. TRUST
  4. The ability to provide mentorship, training, and feedback. HOPE
  5. The ability to create a positive culture. In our talk with each other – we are creating something. The question is: What are we creating? Is culture fun? Or depressing? Exciting or dull? HOPE and COMPETENCY
  6. The ability to create a culture that treats mistakes as opportunities to grow. In Michael Jordan’s infamous Nike ad, he confesses that he was trusted 26 times to take the winning shot and he missed. But, he says, it is because I have failed over and over again, that I succeed. Yeah. COMPETENCY

This will mean that for employees who committed some mistakes, they should be able to trust the manager to provide them with constructive feedback and support. There are a lot of Michael Jordans out there.

  1. The ability to provide clear vision. TRUST
  2. The ability to exhibit strong leadership skills. RESPECT
  3. The ability to welcome accountability. TRUST and RESPECT
  4. The ability to solve problems. RESPECT
  5. The ability to refrain from micromanaging. RESPECT, HOPE, and COMPETENCY

I’ll be sharing more with you as the days go on. Please subscribe to our newsletter here.

What Lies on the Other Side of Fear

What Lies on the Other Side of Fear

After 10 years of consulting at some of the world’s top tech companies (Google, MongoDB, and Dell EMC to name a few),  I could recruit in my sleep. So, I decided that I would start my own business. The first year it was just me. A few days after my first anniversary, I hired my first employee. A few weeks after my second anniversary, my team now numbers seven.

My road to self-employment was bumpy in the beginning. The first version of my website was created by a friend for free. The second version of my website was created by a friend of a friend for $500. The third iteration has taken 2+ months. 

The process has forced me to dig deeply regarding my purpose and goals. Entrepreneurship is in my blood. I’m a 3rd generation business owner (and soon to be 2nd generation, self-made millionaire). My family went straight from the plantation to self-employment. This process has also taught me a lot of respect for my father as a businessman. My dad started a successful consulting business from scratch. With his own money. He had a mortgage, a wife and three kids, one of whom (yours truly!) was one year away from college. We never felt a single financial bump in the road. Not an easy thing to do!

So, why did I wait so long to start my own business?  I’d been fired more times than I could count on one hand (or as I prefer to say, I wasn’t quitting fast enough…). Why did I suffer through jobs I didn’t enjoy for so many years? Because I was afraid. Fear is the enemy of progress. In fact, fear is the greatest impediment to success. Every dream you’ve ever wanted in your life is on the other side of fear. This experience is continuing to teach me that. 

Starting a business has been a journey of self-discovery as much as a practical exercise in bootstrapping a tech recruiting firm. It’s taught me patience, empathy, and how not to worry.  It can be a challenge to service existing clients and still find time to do the work it takes to launch your own thing. Even with a team of seven (for whom I am infinitely grateful), there are days when I struggle.

I’m learning a lot along the way. How to budget. How to hustle…then hustle some more.  How to articulate my feelings even when I’m worried I may be punished for my honesty. I’m learning how to value my labor and how to articulate the value of my work. I’ve learned to accept my limitations.  I’ve learned when to ask for help. I’m learning how to be a good leader. Most importantly, I’m learning to stop hiding my truth/pretending to be someone I’m not and just be honest about what I want and who I am. I’m learning to trust my fate and believe in my destiny. 

It’s overwhelming at times, but I’m learning to live on the other side of fear and it’s been the most liberating and rewarding experience of my life.