MANAGING & SUPPORTING TEAMS

The blue chart summarizes my management experience. in tech.

These companies range from a large distributed organization like Yahoo! to a design agency to a streaming platform to a SaaS startup.

Company & Type

Red Sky Interactive

(Agency)

Yahoo!

(Large Internet)

Pac-12 Networks

(Streaming & Media)

Sigma Computing

(SaaS Startup)

Title

IA Manager

Design Manager

Sr. Director, Design & Research

Head of Research

Roles Managed

Information Architects

UX Designers, Visual Designers

UX Designers, Visual Designers, Researchers

UX Researchers

Direct Reports

4

10-12

4

2

In whatever context, these are the three approaches I prioritize when managing people:

1) Empower & Enable People To Do Their Best Work

This includes the basics like making sure they have the information and resources they need to execute their tasks, and the time to do their jobs well. It also means being aware of, and considerate of things, they may be impacting their lives beyond work. 

Part of how I build trust with my teams is by proactively acknowledging these factors and making it clear they don't have to fight through situations at the expense of their mental health, and that I am there to help them navigate their work needs and project goals. We are a team and teams come together to distribute the load so we can move forward and take care of ourselves at the same time.

 

2) Words Matter...And Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Teams quickly pick up on inconsistencies with this and nothing erodes trust faster than if people believe you are BSing them. If you say transparency is important, but you don't communicate about what is happening in the organization, people will notice that. People don't expect their managers to have all the answers all the time. But they do expect, and deserve, honesty, consideration, and opportunities to succeed.

3) Have Fun Every Day

This may sound frivolous or unserious but it's an important component of doing great work. We want to build great products and be successful. That's harder to do when things constantly feel like a slog. We spend so much time with coworkers (IRL or virtually) that this dynamic has to include moments of laughter or joy.

Some of these are more formal or intentional such as remote trivia nights or having dinner together. Often these are simpler daily things like sharing funny gifs on Slack, laughing at ourselves, or joking about who can come up with the most out-there idea for a new feature. People who've reported to me at any of my management jobs can speak to the environment I create for my teams.