Questions about managing people

Credit Karma Djeub&&
May 15, 2018 41 Comments

I’ve been a people manager at top tech companies and startups for some time and I’ve (hopefully) picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Ask me anything!

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 41 Comments
  • Akamai Technologies eJsq54
    How do you make 1-1s effective. Sometimes people don’t want to talk much. How do you make sure you are able to connect to each team member.
    May 15, 20181
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      OK Akamai don’t freak out ... but I think you need to actually sit with folks you manage in 1-1s that last more than an hour. It’s not until the 30 min mark has passed that our talk gets real. Also, they should own the agenda. Make it clear this is their meeting for their benefit and to come with something to talk about. Be open. Worse comes to worse ask a lot of questions that cannot be answered by yes/no, like ... “tell me about something last week that make you really happy to be here and one thing that really frustrated you.” Then be silent until they answer. And once they start talking, listen. Pay attention to your body language. Be open. To me, a really successful 1-1 is about establishing an emotional connection and a safe space to unload, explore, vent, man up, whatever the day calls for. If your direct manager isn’t on your side, who is?
      May 15, 2018
  • Zulily SKgJ61
    How do you make a high performing team?
    May 15, 20183
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      It all starts with hiring. If you don’t have the luxury of hiring your own team, though, remember that trust comes before competence. If no one trusts you they will never think you are competent. So, if you inherit a team, focus on trust.
      May 15, 2018
    • Zulily SKgJ61
      How do you go about establishing trust? Like you join a new team ; you jump into the details and help the team solve their issues .. that can establish technical trust. What other fronts do you need to keep track of.
      May 15, 2018
    • Talend / Other
      rapier

      TalendOther

      PRE
      IBM
      BIO
      SE, ETL, manager, consultant
      rapiermore
      Protect your team. That means visibly running interference to keep them from being pulled away from their primary responsibilities.

      Don't blame a team member or let somebody else do it for you. It can mean taking the responsibility for a problem on you instead.

      Go to bat for your team. If you tell somebody you will do something for them - push for promotion, bonus, get in a specific project, etc. - follow through and be transparent about why if you cannot make it happen.

      If your team sees you doing that, and it is a consistent behavior, they will trust you.
      May 16, 2018
  • Facebook WDWO10
    1. How do you communicate strategy and help your team to see the big picture?
    2. How do you build trust with domain experts who see things that you don't (and it may not occur to you to ask right kind of questions)?
    May 15, 20183
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      1. Strategy: only works if you repeat it endlessly. Strategy is the WHY. It should be a part of every conversation large or small. If a direct report ever comes to you and says...why are we doing this? It’s your fault. You, as a manager, are responsible for connecting these very dots. Now if you need more help connecting these dots (as we all do sometimes), insist your manager direct your group directly and candidly on this topic.
      2) the biggest way to build trust with domain experts is a.) to cede projects and ownership to areas where their expertise makes a strategic difference and b.) create opportunities for them to learn more. Remember, the way they got to be a domain expert is their appetite for knowledge. Feed that and have a loyal teammate for life.
      May 15, 2018
    • Facebook WDWO10
      This assumes the manager is able to recognise the expertise AND understands enough to position the experts for success. What tips would you have for managers to get there?
      May 15, 2018
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      Great question WSWO10. I think if a manager truly believe they can’t recognize expertise, they shouldn’t be a manager. If they need help positioning experts, get some management coaching. FB must have a ton of resources around this. Now, if you are talking about your manager lacking ability to see your expertise :-) you have two choices: do great work anyway and seek out mentorship from great managers with whom your team collaborates or leave/switch teams. Life is too short otherwise.
      May 16, 2018
  • Adobe acrobat
    If you were at top tech companies why do you work for Credit Karma?
    May 15, 20183
    • Medallia mShU83
      Credit Karma is a profitable company and I wouldn’t be surprised they go IPO this year or next. Depending on when OP joined, credit karma has good upside.
      May 15, 2018
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      Ask all your relatives at your next gathering if they’ve ever heard of Credit Karma. Then you will know. Additionally, there is no other Fintech company like us. I love working here.
      May 15, 2018
    • Medallia mShU83
      Credit Karma is awesome. Was not surprised they got an additional 500m funding a few months ago.
      May 16, 2018
  • Google tcCd20
    What advice would you give your old first time manager self?
    May 16, 20182
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      Ohhhh so many mistakes were made as a first-time manager. The biggest bit of advice is that you need to be able to manage your personal emotions well to be a great manager but conversely be very open and authentic. I spent years trying too hard to be some imagined idea of what a manager should do and it stressed me out. In turn, that led to me managing to emotionally. Second, I learned way to much by making mistakes vs. how I’ve learned on the technical end, which is by acquiring knowledge quickly and efficiently from people and sources who know what they are doing. It’s crazy how most people are made managers without any training and support! We’d never do that in any other role. Imagine: “Here’s your new data analyst, they majored in English and can’t use Excel. Good luck!”
      May 16, 2018
    • Zulily RrMt45
      Take deep interest in your reports not only from career perspective but also from a personal perspective . Try to develop a strong rapport with them .
      Jun 10, 2018
  • Amazon May15
    How do you respond to team mates backstabbing each other?

    How do you deal with conflicts where a senior engineer is trying to throw junior engineer under the bus?

    - On behalf of Amazonians 😉
    May 15, 20181
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      1) Same team? Not to be too dramatic, but you may have to eventually let the toxic instigator go. Would not stand for this for too long. If you think someone isn’t pulling their weight? Here’s how we deal with it. Conflict of personality? Here are the tools to make it manageable. Still want to shit talk? Peace out. The standard to hold is simple adult civility and a can-do attitude between the hours of 9-6. If you can’t meet this bar, I have very little patience.
      1.a) If you are not the manager and you are an innocent party (and I don’t care the work culture) then I’d say make eliminating toxic energy your manager’s job. That’s why they get paid more.
      2.) This may or may or may not be a harder question (or maybe the same question as above?!) but I think ultimately if the senior person sees themselves as someone who was once junior and very bewildered themselves they should be open to feedback that throwing anyone under the bus is a fairly shitty way to navigate conflict. But ultimately if altruism and coaching won’t help senior person get to a better place separate them and be very candid with the more senior person why and how you think they missed out on a chance to share their expertise.
      May 15, 2018
  • LinkedIn igneous/&
    What’s the best and hardest parts about your job?
    May 15, 20181
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      Best: seeing people grow and the feeling of being part of a team. Worst: managing a lot of different expectations from a lot of different pressure points that takes your time away from the best parts of a being manager.
      May 15, 2018
  • Affirm 1aK7mh
    What has kept you from moving to a director role?
    May 15, 20183
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      I don’t understand your question
      May 15, 2018
    • Affirm 1aK7mh
      It sounds like you have been in lower management for a while. Is that because you just enjoy working with ICs, or is there another reason you haven't "moved up" on the ladder
      May 16, 2018
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      I see. No that’s not the case.
      May 16, 2018
  • LinkedIn igneous/&
    What are some of the things you do on a day to day basis? What are some of the recurring meetings you have besides 1 on 1s? Are your meetings useful, or are a drain?
    May 16, 20182
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      I track our KPIs intensely so I can understand how we are performing to goal and have data to back up my team’s success and be the expert if something seems off before it gets too big to fix quickly. Also, delegate the stuff you know really well because you’ll be in a better position to know if it’s being done right by someone else with very little oversight. I also try to keep my tasks as high-leverage as possible, ie if I can unblock the work of 3 people that’s way more important than finishing some deck or doc.
      May 16, 2018
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      And meetings — rarely useful
      May 16, 2018
  • MediaMath vvvhhaa
    Turning tables, how can one make lives better for their people managers?
    May 16, 20181
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      Great question. Give them direct feedback when they do something that helps you — and hinders you. People rarely share the latter.
      May 16, 2018
  • Google / EngGanjamylyf
    You must have been in situations when your managers put lot of pressure on you regarding deliverables and deadlines.
    You may want to save your team from that pressure, at the same time convey them about deliverables and deadlines.

    How to effectively and efficiently do that?
    May 16, 20181
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      Great question. I think it is a mistake to save your team from that pressure. They are adults. Let them know the stakes and that you see your job as someone who is here to push back against wildly unrealistic deadlines when necessary and give them the tools to meet even the most aggressive deliverables when you know they can do it. If someone on your team doesn’t work well with pressure at all, my suggestion is to be transparent about the pressures on you but then work together to focus on their intrinsic motivators. There is something in every project that can be chunked off for everyone. Gretchen Rubin has something out I think about how people are motivated.
      May 16, 2018
  • Medallia mShU83
    What separates a good team from a great team? What are some books you recommend on leadership? What are some failures you experienced as a leader and how did you learn from it?
    May 16, 20181
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      Good team = technically proficient. Great team = that + lot of interpersonal respect within team and visible influence on the outcome of teams with which you collaborate (i.e. people want to work with you) Books? The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
      May 16, 2018
  • Charles Schwab / Engangeloride
    How do you ascertain who is saying the truth when you hear conflicting stuff? One way is to put the parties face to face, but that's hardly ever possible.
    May 15, 20180
  • Amazon / EngxgIO00
    What are the most important actions that you do to help your team to grow and your company to achieve it's goals?
    May 16, 20181
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      Make hiring amazing people your #1 priority. Not the recruiting team, but yours. Then, once you have these great people, train and motivate them. Remember why people start to perform poorly: they either aren’t sufficiently trained to do the tasks you are asking of them, or they aren’t motivated enough to achieve them. You should be worrying about these two things every day.
      May 16, 2018
  • SquareTrade / Eng
    Vjqw70

    SquareTradeEng

    PRE
    SurveyMonkey
    Vjqw70more
    How do you determine how to pay the engineers?
    May 15, 20181
    • Credit Karma Djeub&&
      OP
      Many will make more than me. Most salaries these days are pretty constrained by levels.
      May 15, 2018
  • Credit Karma Stg$&7
    Look 👆🏻
    Jun 9, 20180
  • Akamai Technologies gQeH33
    How do I see what others have asked so far? :-)
    Jun 9, 20180

Join verified employees in our anonymous social network!Download the app!

close