Don't Break People

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Before I began my management role at a large corporation, I sat down and brainstormed a list of everything that I wanted to accomplish as a manager in my new role. At 30, I was about to walk in the front door of a major corporation and take the helm of a brand new content team.

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So I quickly scrawled down EVERYTHING CRUDDY a boss had ever done, and vowed to be better. 

I found this list page, scribbled hastily in my notebook many years later. Here it is today, presented in GIFs from Classic Workplace Comedies. 


1. Pay on Time

We've all had THAT JOB that "was having just a little backlog in accounting" and was unable to cut a check. Or a manager who forgets to approve your hours, or goes on vacation with checks still locked in her drawer.

NOPE. Don't be person coming around the Office Space on Friday afternoon with the bad news. 

Respect your team's financial well being.

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2. Give Credit

This the cheapest, best and truest way of earning your team's respect. Especially in the creative fields, there's usually an entire team behind the curtain. Don't forget your project managers, developers, admins, designers or analysts. Everyone likes a thank you.

As a manager, you'll sometimes be given public credit for the work that your team did. And well, that can really bother the Leslie Knopes of the world. 

Don't let the Leslies fester. 

Ron Swanson modeled this for us well by stepping aside to give his deputy the award, and heading straight for a fine bourbon. 

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3. Allow Others to Shine 

You are the cheerleader for your team, and you can create career growth by increasing the visibility of your team members.  Create opportunities for presentations or other public events that help your team raise it's profile. 

So go on & delegate something. Bonus points if it's something you'd like to do yourself. Double bonus points if you help out a colleague who is attempting something brand new. 

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4. Give All the Perks You Can

The days of Mad Men style perks are long gone, but people still like parties, free food and a break from a routine. 

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5. Allow Room for Growth

 

Remember how West Wing's Josh kept Donna in her secretarial role far too long, despite her encyclopedic brilliance? And then didn't even take her seriously when she quit and got a high-powered job? 

Yeah, don't be like Josh. If you aren't providing opportunities for your team to take on new responsibilities - erm, someone else will. 

Don't wait until they get a sassy purple quitting coat!

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6. Challenge

Annalise Keating is way too tough on her team. How many Murders can they Get Away With? 

But you gotta admire her tough standards.

 

7. Be Confident Enough to Nurture Competitors.

Hire the smartest and most competitive people that you can. And don't rely on first impressions to make that assessment. 

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8. Foster a Creative Environment

You have a bigger impact than you think on team morale. 

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9. Pay Attention to the Daily

If your role requires you to travel or be in a lot of meetings, it’s easy to find yourself too busy to stop by your team’s physical desk. (Particularly if you’ve been chatting with them online all day.) 

But sometimes you just don’t know what’s going on unless you’re there. 

 

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10. Inspire

Easier said than done, I know. 

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11. Respect the Perspectives of Others

Ron Burgundy is the KING of Competitive Imposter Syndrome. He deals with anxiety by loudly drowning out new voices in the room with smelly pirate insults. 

My advice here, since you're not Ron, is to Take Your Time. Look around the room. Invite collaboration, particularly if you think someone might disagree with you. Elevate the voices around you, and always amplify good ideas. 

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12. Enable Differing Workstyles

This is not how. 

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13. Always Be Prepared

Ok, so NO ONE is expecting you to have an elaborate conspiracy collage presentation every morning. And you probably can't speed-talk through your debriefs the way that the Gladiators on Scandal do. 

But you CAN take a page from Olivia Pope's white hat playbook when it comes to anticipating what work lies ahead, quickly delegating tasks based on expertise, and convening your team for structured daily meetings.

Plus it's always fun to walk confidently away as you say: It's Handled. 

 
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14. Never Lie About What You Don't Know

ESPECIALLY in tech, ESPECIALLY in a corporate environment, things will move fast, and you may not have all the answers. That's cool - just don't be the person who makes things up. Don't betray the trust. 

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15. And It's 2018 ya'll.

You're here, you're cool, but a little reminder never hurts:

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Cheers, Manager! 

You've completed the Fries School of Don't Break People! Go on and celebrate a lil. 

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