When I started this blog, I was the chief of staff for a medium-sized, successful organization, where I was responsible for hiring, firing, promoting, managing, all of that. In 2010, I left that job and struck out on my own, doing consulting work on the same issues I write about here.
I think about management and hiring and systems for getting things done pretty much constantly. And I’m bossy, so I like to tell you my opinion. So if you’re not sure what the hell your manager is thinking, or how to ask for a raise, or whether you might be in danger of getting fired, or how to act in a second interview … ask away.
Some of my biases –
- I believe the whole point of managing is to get things done. Everything else follows from there.
- I believe that on the manager style continuum, most managers fall too much toward one of the extremes: wimp or tyrant. Good managers know the goal is to just be normal and see authority as just one more tool to get things done, not something that should make you nervous or something to lord over others.
- I believe that employers and employees should just be straightforward with each other and not let things fester. Unless you’re deluded or a jerk, honesty usually leads you someplace good. (And if you are deluded or a jerk, you have bigger problems anyway.)
- I believe that too many employers abuse their power in the hiring process by mistreating candidates because they feel like they can. Not only is this rude, but it’s not even smart: The best candidates have options. And the ones who don’t will still remember.
- I believe that too many job candidates forget that they should be evaluating the prospective employer and interviewing right back, not just hoping for any offer.
- I believe that you should take criticism gracefully, even when you disagree with it. If nothing else, you’re learning something valuable about how someone else sees you.
- I believe in being brutally honest with yourself — about what matters to you and how much, about what you can and can’t change, about how you’re going to respond to the things that you can’t or won’t change, and about reality in general. This is the recipe for a happy career and a happy life.
You can read some of my favorite posts here; they form the Ask a Manager official canon and should sum up where I’m coming from.