Managers are responsible for results and retention1. There is a tendency to focus on the former, and this is often how they are judged in the short run. However, the former is not sustainably possible without the latter. A manager accomplishes both by growing and coordinating their team. Additionally managers must possess a handful of specific skills and perform a series of regular activities. The best managers are those known for their powers of persuasion, negotiation, good-will, and large reservoirs of trust2.

Management Skills

Time Management

  • Defending your calendar: block out time for “real” work so that you are not perpetually in meetings3.
  • Calendar Tips

Asking for things

Managing people besides your direct reports


Resource for Learning Management


Predictors of failure for managers include4:

  1. Lacking self awareness which leads to defensiveness in response to feedback or poor delegation skills
  2. Lack of team empathy for manager (empathy is a one way street)
  3. Unproductive manager-employee relationships (meetings are ad hoc, lack ownership, focused on output rather than behavior, and do not include other team members)
  4. IC behavior does not align goals


DeMarco, T. Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency. (Currency, New York; London, 2002).
Gamon, T. What I Learnt Becoming a Tech Lead Tom Gamon. at (2021).
Shepp, J., Das, A., Bretas, V. & Basu, S. 4 Reasons Why Managers Fail. Harvard business review at (2024).