It was somewhere around 1996 / 1997 when I became a manger for the first time. I was in my mid-twenties at the time and working in IT as a desktop support technician. Apparently my work load was enough that my manager felt I could use some help and Harry became the first person to directly report to me. My team continued to grow to its largest amount of five direct reports. We’re not talking a large team but we also weren’t a large department at that time.
At the time I had no prior experience being a manager. My main philosophies was to treat everyone with respect and never make them do anything I wouldn’t do myself. I expected a lot out of my team and always told them “Do your job, if you don’t then I have to yell at you and I don’t want to yell at you.” We all seemed to come to a mutual agreement and understanding which allowed us to work well.
Part of that was my doing. Whenever I hired a new member of the team I always looked for someone that would gel with the rest of the team. It doesn’t matter how qualified you are, if you don’t play well with others it’s just not going to work. I did find a few of those but for the most part I think I did a pretty good job finding talent.
We finally settled into a good core group of guys which lasted until May 2000 when there was a company merger. I was wearing so many hats at the time that they decided to move me into project management and that was the end of my managing stint until 15 years later (that is a different story).
I recently had dinner with Harry and also reconnected with another team member (Lee) from that time. I hadn’t seen or spoken with either in quite sometime. They both spoke very fondly of the time they spent working for me. It felt really nice to hear these words even after all this time. It has been over twenty years at this point since they worked with and to have a lasting impact like that means a lot to me.
I never went to management training and I was barely an adult maturity wise back then. None of that really matters. Treating people with kindness and respect is the starting point. Helping them understand why they made a mistake and how to avoid them moving forward is another great step. Communicating with people will always be crucial.
Using fear and intimidation never works.
You’ll find that this is true in every relationship in your life.
Originally posted on meatitate.com