I have a management philosophy that has served me well. It really is the joining of some things I have been taught.

First is assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your report. This is not often hard to do, but you need to figure out shortly. Reach out to other member on the team, users, clients, others. But assess yourself. I cannot be more clear, sometimes people make an impression of a skill, and if it is bad, that assessment remains. In many cases also perception is reality, so make sure you observe (don’t take the easy way out.) Once you have your observations you can start to assemble what you need to do.

Second I chose the area where the person has freedom. In my field I strongly believe that developers, development leads etc. like to have freedom to create and do. There of course is the “walls” of your firm/division group. In technology the walls can be programming language, infrastructure, libraries, user interface destination etc. But knowing the walls, and allowing freedom to be creative within the walls is the key. This freedom is only in places they have earned, or shown competence that they can do. If someone is not good at something, don’t give them the freedom you will need to teach them.

The third is teaching. Often there are people who report to you, and they have a deficiency in one or more areas. As a manager your role is to get them to improve and make it into a strength. There are a few ways to do this, telling them and saying “go ahead” and make a plan. This can be useful, but what if one of the weaknesses is not a self starter, what if it is a skill that is not easy to find how to do. You also need to put the person in a situation where you or another person demonstrates that skill so they can watch you (or another in action) the meet and discuss how that skill worked. Next put that person in a situation where they need to demonstrate the skill while you (or someone else observes.). If needed intervene (if its going awry) or let it go, but then have a conversation of how it went. This micromanaging of on skill is useful to get that skill better.

As the employees skill improve they earn more freedom (hence the term earned freedom.) The goal is really for them to have full freedom to do their job. My opinion is that you cannot scale if you try to micromanage everyone and if you give everyone too many freedoms it will be more of a wild west scene. Success is when your employees understand their freedom and can be hand held thru their weaknesses. Funny in a discussion just the other day I even asked my boss for a coach in a specific area where I am seen as good at, but I think I can be better. But getting better is what is life and this blog is about.

Earned Freedom within the walls, this is how I manage. It has served me well for a long time, and I am sure I will change or alter it as I learn more.

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them.