I have been a manager for more than 15 years at technology companies, and I´ve been lucky enough to make all those mistakes that should not be made as a manager. I say lucky because thanks to that, I´ve learned things that are not taught or studied, like getting up every day and overcoming the problems that occur in our professional and personal lives. I always like to recite out loud this phrase: ¨I´m a lucky man, nothing in my life has been easy¨. Not only because it makes me feel lucky but because it is what I think.
I’ve had the opportunity to hire more than 100 developers, create a team from scratch and take it to the point of having more than 60 people in charge. I´ve been corporate CTO and CTO for startups. I feel grateful for everything I’ve experienced, and I can look back with a lot of pride and realism to see what I did right and what I did wrong.
Throughout these years, I´ve made many mistakes, and I would like to share these six ones that I hope you don’t make so that you can learn from them without suffering the consequences that I´ve suffered.
When you start in a management position, your loyalty to the company can play a dangerous trick, thinking that the company only needs you to do your job and work your ass off for it. However, your job is not only to do your job but also to train and keep learning. This way, you can do your job more effectively and be more valuable to the company and yourself.
So don’t confuse loyalty to a project with your learning pause. You are not unfaithful because you are still hungry to learn and research. My advice is obvious, NEVER STOP LEARNING.
¨My children are perfect, and they do what they can; nobody messes with them¨.
When you have a child, it is frankly difficult to be objective about what they do. Everything is always or almost always right, and if someone says they are doing something wrong, your reaction is always defensive and in denial.
As a manager and leader, this should not be your reaction when someone comments on your team. Your reaction should be to listen, analyze and act accordingly. In professional life and especially in a management role, we cannot think of everything as black and white, and we always have to question our own decisions. Therefore, how can you not question your team’s actions?
Many managers out there feel like you and want to find someone like you to talk to and share experiences with. Look for those forums, those communities, and don’t stop until you have something that takes away that feeling.
This will help you gain a global vision, cut childish behaviours from the root, and, above all, avoid confrontations between departments or with your superiors.
You will always find someone who has walked the same path you are walking. Don’t let that irrational fear, like the impostor syndrome, dominate you and prevent you from acting with your ideas and thoughts.
“My team and I can develop a Facebook or WhatsApp app in a week, all in-house. Here we do it ourselves, and we don’t use anything from third parties.”
This is a bad practice within the tech sector. We think we can do everything better than everyone else and spend little time researching what others are doing that might help us ourselves.
Let’s start by having our house in order and then ask our neighbour why his house is so messy. Let’s not think that we are the smartest and what we see; only we see it and no one else.
“We are the only ones keeping this ship afloat; without us, this company would sink.”
My dear, without customers, there are no invoices; without customers, a 7-star hotel is worthless. Without customers, there is no money, without money, there is no payroll, and without money, there are no developers to develop any technological tool. If we believe or think that other divisions are not doing what they should, let’s think about how to help them; let’s think about how with technology, we can solve real problems in their lives that can have a positive influence on the company, to achieve more cohesive teams and to ensure that repetitive work is done by a machine and not by a specific person.
You are always tempted to do; the dynamics of work and everyday life push us to have less time for our tasks. One-on-one should never be an option that we can delay or cut to dedicate ourselves to other tasks.
For some team members, it may not be as valuable as you think, but for most, it is a crucial moment where they can talk to their manager and discuss issues that are forgotten or postponed in everyday life. Giving importance, space, and value to the one-on-one is a must for any manager who wants his team to be motivated and aligned with the company’s purpose and the projects carried out.
All this mentality based on Never Stop Learning has led me to be one of the ten students who participated in the first Ignite Mentoring Program led by Alvaro Moya and his Lidr team. It has been a great experience where I could strengthen myself, learn knowledge, and share experiences to be a better Lidr in my professional life and be a better Lidr in my personal life.
Obtain inner stability to be able to find the ideal balance for your teams. Manage conflicts, improve your speech and your management qualities. In short, a great program to continue learning and strengthening your soft skills to become part of that 1% of people who do what they set and achieve their goals by training and sacrificing to be better every day.