Apalla #8 – Management, Part 1

This next series we’ll start is on management. While I do intend for this to have a business slant, I will warn you ahead of time that this is where I put all my general “leadership” goodies in as well. So you’ll see a couple of things that you can apply to leading a team in general.

We’ll be separating this series into three different parts: tacticsbehavior, and communication. Unlike the last three series, there isn’t going to be some overarching framework we can apply to all this — you’ll see patterns, but it’s not as clean as just separating everything into twos or threes.

First, we’ll do tactics. A lot of tactics has to do with the short term of motivating employees. There’s a lot of different theories for how you can motivate people, but one tends to triumph above all others: self-determination theory. This involves giving employees autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Autonomy is pretty straightforward. Employees shouldn’t be limited by hierarchy or bureaucracy, and instead should be motivated to work on projects as they see fit. There’s obvious some measures that need to be placed in this to make sure the employees don’t go loosey goosey through campaigns and products, but beyond that autonomy is a pretty good way to keep a person working. It’s also quite a relevant step in Innovation, as we’ll see in a future series.

Mastery and Purpose are a bit more opaque. Essentially, mastery is getting good at something while purpose is doing something meaningful. Together, they make getting good at something meaningful. This means to try to keep the menial office tasks automated, and instead have people build skills by working on key projects. This is a pretty difficult step, so don’t feel too bad if you don’t know how to approach it!

There’s two other, unrelated pieces of tactics you should focus on as well: creating culture and making long-term decisions

Creating culture means that you develop an optimal environment for your employees to work on the job. For investment banking, this is high stakes testosterone rolling. For tech, this is creating what is virtually a playhouse. The important thing about culture is that it’s a two way street: you must create a culture that attracts certain people, and you must hire people that create a certain culture. If this sounds a bit vague, don’t worry too much about it — culture is something that deserves its own series, and we’ll be getting a deeper dive sometime in the future.

Finally, we have making long-term decisions. In management, you’re often going to have to make close calls between two very reasonable sides. Sometimes, like in layoffs, those decisions are zero-sum. Typically the best decisions are always going to focus over long-term growth (or in cases of recession, survival). Once again, this is a fairly general concept — we’ll be able to get more involved when we discuss decision-making.

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