Lessons for November 2021

When I got into management, it wasn't because I knew anything about managing people. My own manager needed less on his plate, so suddenly I was in charge of a bit more than just development.

This is pretty offputting. To become a professional developer, I put in considerable time in web dev courses, personal coding projects, and devouring items that helped me learn. And to have that effort recognized and pay off by earning a position as a developer felt fitting.

To not do anything in pursuit of management, but being guided down a management path never really seemed fitting. I've embraced it, and enjoyed it, and it's definitely the right path for me. That said, I realized I lacked training in that area. Management is such a soft-skill track, but like anything else, you don't know what you don't know. So I raised my hand when I saw opportunity for training, and recently enrolled in a course designed by Harvard Business Purblishing for my management level.

To date, I'm about a fourth of the way into it. So far the material is on networking. Not computer networking, but business and social networking. Previously, I've shied from the term 'networking' as a practice. (I became a web developer after all!) I envisioned people that pursue networking in an of itself as ambitious, power-hungry, money-seeking professionals that are looking to climb the ladder.

But that's a narrowminded perspective. A good piece of my management value to date has been connecting my direct reports to other people who can help them get their work done. I couldn't do that if I had not had a network in place - a group of people that I've worked with, known and trusted, across a variety of other disciplines at my organization.

With the death (or at least temporary halt) of in-office work life, we no longer have the ability to brush elbows in the break room, or walk a hallway of offices to learn what names are associated with what departments. We don't get the opportunity for hallway chats, or introductions with a colleague in the cafeteria. The casual nature of all those little items is what nurtures a network, and those simply don't exist in a remote-only world.

So for me to create and nurture that network, I must purposefully pursue 'networking' as a an agenda item. I won't be a productive manager without it, so I must forego the casual for a more formal network building. I have to schedule meetings for no other purpose other than to schedule meetings. How's that going to go? How's that going to be perceived by others in a world in which people already complain about how many meetings are on their calendar?

The 'zoom'-era is in its infancy, so figuring out how to do this effectively will be ongoing for a while.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the leadership course, and thinking through what this means for me.

November 15, 2021🏷leadership