I regularly see managers complain about the performance of certain individuals who then go on to be outstanding performers at their next job. I’ve come to the realisations that the problem generally lies with the manager rather than the person being managed.
It’s true that many of these individuals have a tendency to coast. Doing what they’ve been asked to do, and no more. I used to think that the problem was with the individual for being unmotivated, and I think that is part of the story.
However a good manager should provide structure and guidance for these sort of individuals as they often don’t understand what’s expected. To coach, mentor, support and challenge them into doing their best work possible. Instead they often act like absentee landlords.
This is almost certainly the environment they’ve found themselves moving to. One where clear expectations have been set, and where they are actively held accountable.
Bad managers often think they’re being good managers by letting commitments slide. It doesn’t matter if you missed the deadline this month. I’m sure you’ll hit it next month. However this sets up a culture where not taking ownership becomes the norm.
I think nee and inexperienced managers spend so much effort wanting to be liked, that they end up inadvertently creating environments where underperformance is the norm. They then blame that under-performer, rather than the culture they themselves have created.
Not don’t get me wrong. I definitely don’t want to swing in the other direction. Being a human, approachable managers is important. But your job as a manager is to help you’re team thrive. I don’t believe in 10x designers but I do think a good manager can 10x a team.
I think mediocre managers believe their job is to pass on instructions and manage poor performers out.

I think great managers believe their job is to unlock the potential in each of their reports.
The difference is outlook. The former believes that people are either talented or lazy. The other believes that everybody has the potential trial to do better

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty manager?

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More from @andybudd

12 Sep
I’ve been enjoying reading this book about the contemporary art market. As a result, here are my predictions about NFTs. A photo of the book Boom: M...
We’re currently in a super early technology driven gold rush, during which time a lot of mediocre NFT art will be created and sold for sold for seemingly random prices.
Some early NFTs with historic significance will continue to hold their value. Some new NFT artists will appear, but most of the art created during this phase will end up worthless.
Read 16 tweets
12 Sep
It’s almost always simple (if you already know the answer), but never easy (because it involves convincing other people).
The hardest thing in tech isn’t knowing the right thing to do. It’s figuring out how to get people to do it (and follow through with conviction)
Doing the right thing usually means doing something different to what you’re currently doing. This involves both risk and effort on the part of others, for often limited personal reward.
Read 7 tweets
9 Sep
I see so many designers take roles in well established teams, only to leave 18 months later because they were unable to affect any meaningful change.
They were somehow surprised that joining an established product team with established processes and an established backlog of work, somehow took the creativity and joy out of the role.
Designers, if you truly want to make an impact, consider joining a start-up as their Founding Designer, before the processes have ossified. It'll be scrappy, it'll be messy and you'll have plenty of channeling conversations with the founders. But the potential is much larger.
Read 5 tweets
9 Sep
The biggest mistake I see in hiring? Companies believing that they pick the employees, rather than employees picking them. The best talent has lots of options and need to be convinced to come and work for you.
This often manifests in job ads that attempt whittle out "all but the best candidates", without realising that the overly aggrandising language they use, and demands for "take home design tasks" will put many of the best people off.
This also manifests in interviews that feel more like interrogations than two way conversations. Making candidates feel lucky to even be considered, rather than making them excited by the opportunity of working there.
Read 4 tweets
9 Sep
A lot of interface level AI is about helping people speed up interactions. Like this example from Google.
However with more complicated examples, how do you know that the recommendations you are getting have your best interests at heart, rather than those of the companies advertisers, sponsors.
For instance, if you ask Alexa to add something to your shopping list, how do you know that they're going to add the cheapest version available? Or the version they'll make the most money off?
Read 10 tweets
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Founders and Entrepreneurs. It's worth remembering that prospects generally hate sating no, so will regularly make up a reasons instead. The product is too expensive, lacks key features, or isn't mature enough yet. This will often send you down the wrong path.
I've seen so many founders, sales managers and product managers mistake "no" for "yes, if you build X". So they spend 6 months building the thing, only to get a different sort of no (or worse, radio silence).
Understanding a genuine feature request from a polite rejection is super hard.
Read 4 tweets

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