After migrating my blog from WordPress to Jekyll (which was long overdue), I’m going to pick up writing again. This first new post is easy, because I’ve already written it for my company blog. It’s about my live coding stream on Twitch that I’ve been doing for a while now. It’s called “Full Stack Live”, a fitting name (I think) for a stream that covers all kinds of DevOps topics from Rails coding to operating Kubernetes (coming soon!).
Managing people is an ability that requires practice and learning, just as any other. As the German proverb goes, "No master ever just fell from the sky."
Regardless of how much you've thought about the topic, how much you've read about it or even taken courses, it's a fact that no amount of theory can compensate a lack of management practice. As Jason Fried says in "On being a bad manager":
"Sure, you’ve listened to music for decades. But your first day on guitar sucks. Just like you may have watched people be managed — and you were likely managed yourself. That doesn’t prepare you to pick up the management instrument and strum a beautiful melody."
People are messy. That's why leading people is messy, too.
The problem with getting better at management is that there's no
--dry-runoption. It's like learning the guitar on stage. You'll get better over time but it comes with screwing things up in public, getting critical (or even devastating) feedback, and leaving the place feeling ashamed for not meeting your own expectations.
Getting better as a manager is like assembling the plane after you've already jumped off the cliff. You might land as a master. Or crash spectacularly.
There are people who are willing and able to deal with this kind of challenge. They're the right candidates for switching from being an individual contributor to a management position. For all the others (probably the majority), we'll have to provide other avenues for growth.
In "Who can blame Melania for resisting her Easter egg role?", the Irish Times suggests using the vacant East Wing of the White House to install a First Shrink. I suggest launching a Center for Megalomaniac Studies. He did promise lots of new jobs, didn't he?