Reading 2022-03-28


  • Ref:: Andreas Klinger
  • Title:: Managing people
  • Author:: Andreas Klinger
  • Year of publication:: 2022
  • Category:: Blog
  • Topic::
  • Related::

Notes from reading

As a manager, everything is your fault

  • There is no point being angry at your team – ever
  • You are in charge of processes and people. And you got more information than they do, always
  • You either created the processes where this outcome happened or you hired (or did not fire) the wrong people

You manage processes; you lead people

  • a misunderstanding of what the role of a manager is
    • your job is not to manage people
    • but to manage processes and lead people
  • You manage processes on how you expect work to be done, where each person's authority starts and ends, how their careers are made, and how all this can be discussed, and/or changed
  • you are leading people by example and through empathy
    • They have goals, fears and motivations. Frequently also problems outside of work
    • Act how you would want them to act if the role would be reversed

Processes are expectations made explicit

  • Processes are not complex chains of people doing things that are burdened by horrible overheads
  • They can be as simple as "every morning we all do X to ensure everyone else is unblocked".
  • Have few but very explicit processes and expect them to be followed

Decisions vs Opinions

  • In every discussion/project/problem/situation, it needs to be clear who makes decisions
    • Ideally, the person who will afterward do (or lead) the follow-up work makes the decisions
      • everyone else only adds opinions, even people of higher "rank" or pay
  • Their manager has a handbrake they can use to hard-stop decisions
  • Hire based on good decision-making skills
    • Fire based on poor decision-making skills
    • Good decision-making skills include listening to other people's opinions
    • In case of doubt, see if you can trust the decision-maker by default


  • The worst thing that can happen is that you frequently step in, and people disassociate from their work
  • Don't confuse autonomy and abandonment

Avoid back and forth

  • When defining processes, avoid back and forth
  • if you give feedback on something assume that they will either do it or get back to you with reasons why not
  • Don't expect them to get your approval


  • Always reflect if your nervousness is due to other people's work or your insecurity
  • Always differ between your frustration about a situation and your frustration about a person
  • Stay in the loop, set expectations, voice opinions, but let them handle it. Use your handbrake if needed
  • Trust through transparency
    • Have everything accessible where people would look for it
    • The easiest way to have people trust your work is by transparently sharing it without request

Decision Layering

  • Different people in the company on various levels rely on each other on doing their work
    • for example, a product manager can't do their job if the CEO doesn't know what their current priorities are
  • Don't load your work onto others in the company
  • Avoid stepping into others' work just because looks more fun

Avoid drive-by management

  • the manager comes by a group of people having a discussion. They throw requests, change mandates, and ideas around like bullets, create confusion, panic, chaos, and when they leave, they leave a bloody mess behind

Feedbacking people

  • people x context = output
  • When you feedback work, it's usually easier to discuss the context objectively than the person themselves
    • What is the situation that led to current problems?
    • What changed? What is currently required?
  • Always assume people you hired are motivated, and have the best intentions in mind. And fire the ones that don't

Firing should never be a surprise

  • People should never be surprised that they are fired
  • When you discontinue someone, you do it usually because of context. Context changed; new requirements should have been communicated
    • The company changed
    • The expectations of the role changed
    • You realized you looked for the wrong hiring criteria
  • Never delay firing
    • Set up a call and discontinue them
      • Start directly with the topic and have explicit clarity on the next steps
      • Make sure to communicate it as fact and truth
    • Then help them find new roles

Explicit > Implicit

  • Clear decisions after meetings. No clear decision? Make that explicit too
  • Clear owners. No clear owner? Make that explicit too
  • Hear everyone's opinions. Make explicit who makes the decision. And what the decision is

Chaos is felt less by the people creating it

  • A common frustration of founders is that their team can't keep up with pivots
  • As a founder, you most likely got more context on changes, you know earlier of them, and most importantly, you have control over them. Employees don't