Obstacle Courses and The Details with Alec Munro

Name: Alec Munro
Role:  Director of Software Quality
Company: Insight Catastrophe Group
SNYAM cohort: 06- Brooklyn 2018

Why do folks resist moving into management?

Early in your career, a lot of management looks like creating an obstacle course for team members to traverse. Beyond this, there’s a bias in the tech community that associates technical competence with poor people skills, so for many of us management doesn’t even seem like an option.

As a leader, what do you need most from your team? From your peers? From your own manager?

I need my team to know that I’m much more interested in how they are doing as people then whether they are completing a particular task.

I need my peers to share their challenges and accomplishments, and back me up when I’ve got a case to make to the higher-ups.

I need my management to represent the interests of my team in places I don’t have access to, and ensure the value of the work we are doing is well understood.

How do you leave work at work? What practical actions do you take to set these boundaries?

Generally, I am working at some level all the time, except when I’m specifically away from work because of PTO, sickness, or the like. I work remotely, and keep a very flexible schedule that allows me to relate to work and non-work items as needed, which comes in handy to my family. I used to try to maintain some sort of separation, but it always felt like a struggle, and dropping that definitely reduced my work-related stress.

Getting better at managing has caused me to also get better at:

Recognizing my own needs and relating to them. I try to be very personally aware of how my reports and others around me are doing, in terms of whose kid is at piano practice, who is having trouble with their landlord, who just got a makeover, etc. Developing a sense for these day-to-day goings on and how they affect people has led me to examine my own life.

What do you miss most about being an Individual Contributor?

Being able to spend more time just solving problems and less time figuring out which problems to solve when.

Want to attend a manager training where you’ll learn how to avoid creating obstacles for your team? Join us at an upcoming event… details here.