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The Steve Ratio

I’ve seen a few blogs recently about management and especially man management in IT but before I begin, I’ll explain the title! In my career, I have had four managers called Steve; two have been good, one indifferent and one who words cannot describe, not when I know that are some ladies who read this. And actually, the ratio of 2:1:1 is pretty much representative of the managers I have had so far.

So what makes a good manager? Well for me, the most important quality of the two good Steves was that they allowed me to make decisions that I was comfortable with and when I made a mistake, they would sit down with me and work through the mistake and then let me fix it. Let’s break that down

1) They trusted me….good managers trust!

2) They let me make mistakes….good managers do not second guess and do not blame!

3) They gave me guidance but not the answers! Good managers show the way but don’t carry you!

4) They trusted me….good managers don’t let mistakes destroy trust!

Now with my current numbers of direct reports, around thirty (I loose count); I have no choice but to follow those principles and do any more would rapidly hasten my descent into insanity but I owe those two Steves a great debt.

For me, man management is the great under-rated skill in IT; they aren’t always the most senior people and sometimes they aren’t the greatest techies but they ensure your organisation works and that you can do your job.

It is ironic that so many people say that the road to Cloud requires a cultural change; perhaps this should also include a change in attitude to man management. Perhaps we can change the Steve Ratio and make it 3:1:0; no arse-holes and a majority of good managers.

One Comment

  1. Chris says:

    Did you not learn anything/much from the less than great bosses?

    My career thus far has been mostly ruled by less than stellar bosses and I find I learn more from the terrible ones than the mediocre. I might have actually learned more than the rare good ones I have had.

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