Three Things I’ve Learned as a Manager

Sometimes you get really lucky.

It’s uncommon to work at a company that has incredible growth and extremely competent colleagues and executives. I’ve been luckiest to have great managers.

At the time, I took it for granted. That’s quickly changed in the past few months since I myself became a manager. Everything that goes into being a great manager has become abundantly clear. Here are three things I’ve learned so far (subject to change):


Really, Really Give a Damn

Managers have more direct impact on their employees and their daily lives than the federal government. If you’re going to take that kind of responsibility on, you have to care deeply and passionately. You should feel a spiritual, moral drive to be a great manager.

Great managers have to understand what their employees want in their careers, finances and their lives and help get them there. You benefit because your employees will follow you for this care.


Manage Yourself

It’s important to work well in the organization and keep a strong relationship with my manager. My ability to build a network and work within the politics of an office will have a direct impact on how my team is treated and if we get what we need. The real issue here is trust. If your people view you as powerless, they won’t trust you.


Have, Follow, and Change a Plan

When I came into the role, I wrote out a 90 day plan of action. Many of the items I completed, but many were changed within weeks of the transition as circumstances dictated. It was really important for me to have an agenda of what I would focus on and it allowed me to track it with my manager and show the progress I was making in each area.


One of my favorite quotes about management is from former Brigadier General, now professor Tom Kolditz.

“Leadership, in many respects, is exercising a moral obligation. When you put yourself at the head of an organization, or you put yourself in a group of individuals and work to influence them in a certain direction, there are consequences that affect people’s lives.

If you do it right, you help people make their mortgages. You help them send their kids to college. And the organization is stronger because of it. For those willing to take that on, I think there is a reward and satisfaction that comes with the responsibility.”


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Chris Cottrell

Chris Cottrell

Hi, I'm Chris, an MBA student at Georgetown. I write about business school, tech, and startups. Find me on Twitter.

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