This article will be very helpful for those I hire and those who hire me. In both cases, I’m referring to my management style and communication preferences. From now on, I’ll just forward this link :)
In general, I like to work with highly-motivated, educated, charismatic, and multidisciplinary professionals who also possess a well-developed sense of humor. Albeit my Mom says “don’t look for the perfect one”, aiming high is a time-proven strategy.
In particular, when managing or being managed, here’s the short actionable list with my structured “dos” and “dont’s”. It takes time to build trust and it takes no time to break it. Therefore, each “do” earns you one point and each “don’t” loses you 10 from the score.
So, what does it take so that I can throw anything on your desk and you’ll “just” mark it as done? Attention: aggressive language ahead.
✅ Be a Problem Solver
Take a complicated mission, plan what needs to be done and deliver the result. Use every available resource wisely. Learn on the go. Ask probing questions anytime.
✅ Lead Without Authority
Motivate the relevant stakeholders, keep them engaged and maintain mutual trust. Know what, when, and how to delegate. Deliver complex outcomes by orchestrating many pairs of hands. As my past boss, Matti Rosengart repeatedly said, “Authority is never granted, it can only be taken.”
✅ Manage Yourself
Know the status of everything under your supervision in real-time. When I ask a question, I expect you to know the answer without talking to your subordinates.
✅ Manage Me
I say things once and expect to do no further follow-ups. Capture the meeting notes and ping me when something worth sharing pops up: delays, updates, reminders, deliverables— you’ve got the idea.
❌ Promise But Don’t Do
Missions you didn’t object to are considered accepted in full. Avoid committing and underdelivering without prior communication.
❌ Do Not Apologise
When something unexpected occurs do not start with explanations or worth, with blaming others or excuses. Speak and act constructively. Suggest a solution and fix it fast.
❌ Do Not Make Similar Mistakes
Extrapolate every lesson learned to similar situations. Do not and don’t let others make the same mistake thrice.
✅ Develop a Razor-Sharp Structured Thinking
Be aware of every relevant detail within your line of sight. Maintain your projects’ up-to-date status and structure. When making decisions, know to separate the wheat from the chaff.
✅ Think in Processes, Not Case by Case
When something “bad” happens, fix the root cause and all the related procedures. Do everything to reduce the probability of anything similar happening in the future.
✅ Anticipate What’s Coming and Act First
Maintain your knowledge base. Perform continuous what-if analysis. Be prepared with a solution for the challenges that you’ve anticipated (as we say in Hebrew, be ready to “take medicine before the hit”).
✅ Write Professionally
Details tell a story about the level of your immersion in the product and your ability to maintain focus and execute without redundant verifications.
When creating a list (bulleted or comma-separated), verify its uniformity: all the items should be of the same type of speech: subjects, actions, characteristics, etc. When writing, avoid spelling mistakes or double spaces between written words. Be consistent in capitalization. When referring to something or sharing information, use specific names and dates (e.g. Instead of, “This needs to be done soon,” try, “ “Feature X will be deployed to production next Wednesday midday. The risks are Y, Z, and T.” ).
✅ Provide Answers the Right Way
When I ask questions, do not repeat what you have just answered. I’ve already heard it. Think about what I am missing and find a better way to explain yourself.
Take your time to phrase the answer before saying it. Attention is a precious resource. Use your storytelling in the best way possible.
❌ Do Not Flood
Communicate with no extra words or redundant specifics. Elaborate only at the expected level of granularity. Do not mix details, stories, examples, and conclusions in the same sentence in no particular order.
These tough-phrased guidelines apply to me, first and foremost. With every venture, I learn new ways to perfect my skills to execute my job more effectively. My goal is to be a motivational example for my subordinates and managers. United we stand, divided we fall.
- To Alexandra Shelenkova for the article artwork
- To Valerie Sokolova for the feedback on restructuring the article to make it more digestible to readers
- To Miriamsgreen for her help with editing and proofing
- To my hardest bosses and most challenging employees
- To everyone who helps me to become a better person in general and a better manager in particular