"Mistakes I’ve Made as an Engineering Manager"

Some interesting thoughts about managing. The article discusses how to learn from each of four mistakes:

  • Mistake 1: Thinking people give feedback the way they want to receive it
  • Mistake 2: Trying to do everything yourself as a manager is the best way to help
  • Mistake 3: Communicating something one time is enough
  • Mistake 4: You have to have everything together all the time

Nothing earth-shattering, and it’s focused on management in tech, but there’s good things to think about not just for those in leadership positions but anyone building collaborations.

I especially like this comment about using multiple communication channels to reinforce your message without coming across as nagging:

Mistake 3: Communicating something one time is enough

No one likes to feel like they’re repeating themselves. It’s annoying to say someone more than once, and it’s annoying to hear something over and again. But if you have a big enough group and there’s enough going on, things are going to slip through the cracks, so repetition becomes an important tool to make things stick. The trick is to say the same things, but in different ways.

Think of all the ways we have to communicate these days: chats, emails, video meetings, texts, document comments, and so much more. And because some people communicate better in one medium than another, using all of the platforms have in various mediums becomes a strategy for repetition without nagging.

(Also: Is it numerology for me to wish there were five mistakes in the list?)


Jim Bagrow
Jim Bagrow
Associate Professor of Mathematics & Statistics

My research interests include complex networks, computational social science, and data science.