Stop hiring "effective managers." They are not only useless, but also harmful

    Each company goes through several life cycles from the moment of its foundation to its own “coffin lid”. The end for different companies is different: someone does not compete with younger and more flexible teams whose products haven’t gotten out of the state of early beta for years, but still are more successful, others become part of larger corporations.

    However, in the life cycle of any company there is a period of explosive personnel growth with the search for ways to solve this problem. You all know this stage. Here, yesterday's local product captures a tangible market share, the audience multiply increases and the team faces problems that were not even suspected. Somehow, invisibly, department heads appear “reception hours” and coordination of meetings via mail, the HR-department grows noticeably, and the times when the whole team could order a dozen pizzas for the action and arrange Friday gatherings in the office are in the past. The company’s owner and part-time director gains 15–20 kilos of excess weight, appears less and less in the corridors and offices, and spends more and more time in his office where he is given a coffee by his personal secretary, or he flies away to Cyprus.

    That's when the “effective managers” start to take over the company.

    Who are “effective managers” and where do they come from

    To begin with, it is worth understanding the terminology. An “effective manager” is such an insidious parasite that manipulates it and invented metrics. There are “effective managers” in companies that have grown in a jerk and did not have time (or could not) prepare management cadres within their own structure. Yes, a very small percentage of developers or specialists in related “disciplines” are able to manage people. In fact, it is quite a hard job and the higher the position, the fewer the candidates for the position within the organization.

    The implementation of “effective management” starts from the very top and a little to the side - from the HR department. When a company gets money for seminars and staff development, sensible developers are herding at meetings, conferences and workshops for themselves, in order to exchange knowledge and opinions with other professionals, and HR, in order not to be deprived, go to their seminars on "Personnel management", taking with him the current leaders of the company. At this point, the company is incredibly weak and everything depends only on the resilience and greed of the owners. If I’m able to tempt the owner-director at a seminar with the idea that you can squeeze more money at times from his creation, he will almost personally hand over the keys of the organization to "effective managers", abstracting from everything that happens next.

    This is expressed in hiring a new HR director from the outside with an impressive portfolio and terrible phrases in the resume in the “experience” and “education” sections, or through hiring a “optimization manager” or any other “specialist” of this profile.

    The invasion has begun.

    The first steps of an "effective manager"

    Since the “effective manager” is by its nature a parasite and radish, first of all it begins to build a springboard for future activities and the subsequent hiring of its colleagues in the workshop. The first thing our guest does is review metrics across the board.

    In general, metrics are a fun thing. Control over development, marketing and sales is needed, but they must be justified and the person who has set these metrics must bear responsibility first of all. It’s necessary to understand one simple thing: if after changing the metrics the specialist, who used to cope with his work, suddenly became unprofitable, then first of all you need to ask who put these new metrics to him. The adequacy of metrics is something that is ignored by effective managers, who, figuratively speaking, instead of the usual meters and kilograms they all understand, begin to measure the effectiveness of the company and individuals in quantum-tangled parrots.

    The organization of parrots with one simple goal is introduced into the daily life of the organization: to squeeze out from the company people who were at the origins and can resist and influence the business owner. Such is the internal sabotage. Since no one really understands what these parrots are, it is quite simple to manipulate new metrics and adjust the bar to the level “not suitable for service”. If you suspect the appearance of an “effective manager” in your team, then check one simple thing: is he responsible for the failures of his subordinates.

    A normal chief is at the same time both the captain of the ship and the battalion commander, that is, he is the last to leave the ship, and for the team as his own father. In this case, it is he who answers the head for the shoals of his subordinates, stands first in the queue for the carpet, and sometimes completely - alone, covering his team with his back. An “effective manager” is an ideal switchman, pushing the blame for mistakes and jambs on everyone around him, in such a way that the alpha male strengthens his authority in the eyes of high authorities according to the principle “look how good I am and everyone else is bad and stupid ".

    The processes described above occur in different organizations at different speeds, but the result is always the same: the first wave of layoffs and changes in recruitment methods. In terminal stages this can be expressed in the postulate that “the best people can and should be hired, we have no time to prepare our own people”.

    Mass invasion of "effective managers"

    After our parasite discredits or brings to dismissal the main backbone of the company, which enjoyed authority and trust, it firmly sticks to the brains of HR-department employees and begins a policy of "improving efficiency."

    Obviously, at the previous stage, it was revealed that the new parrot metrics by the old team are not executed. At this point, business owners usually begin to sweat a little with excitement, because warm Cyprus has become a little further than desired. But the “effective manager” comes to the aid of the nervous system of the owners and says that all this is easily and simply solved, just the leaders were bad and the structure was wrong. It is necessary to develop a workflow, to build a rigid vertical, to hire tough specialists and everything will be quietly covered. At this moment in the company there is a real redistribution of power. The development will be very lucky if its leaders unite and recapture the relative independence of their part of the company from "effective management." In this case, our parasite will get everything else: PR, marketing, sales, HR. Much worse,

    In any case, the organization begins a wave of hiring. The HR department, like a printing press, begins to massively hire "specialists", most often in top positions with the delegation of the selection to their subordinates to newcomers. This is the most active stage of hiring "effective managers." A common feature of all these people is that they are not truly experts in the field of the company. That is, another organization is being built within the company, the purpose of which is to imitate vigorous activity.

    If clearly. Before the restructuring between the linear developer and the head of the IT department was conditional, one person was a team leader. "Effective management" begins to split the internal structure of the company into smaller parts, introducing more and more "managerial" positions. Thus, small, weak and dependent "teams" are singled out, each has its own boss, whose goal is to write reports. At the same time, a rigid embargo is imposed on the diagonal contacts: only vertically. That is, if earlier specialists from different departments could interact with each other to a higher and lower level in the hierarchy, now everything is only through a “broken phone” type system, that is, through their heads, “effective managers”. Of course, parrot reports are written for all this, which show

    The result of the company's occupation by “effective managers” is a multiple increase in the administrative and bureaucratic apparatus of the company without a multiple increase in the productivity / profitability of the company. Where there used to be 1-2 people, a dozen are now sitting and writing reports.

    From such sabotage suffer all, except, of course, "effective managers" of all levels.

    How to build a personnel policy in order not to fall into this trap

    It would be easiest to say “grow your bosses inside the team” and finish the article, but we all understand that this is most often impossible.

    Of course, hiring people from the outside is both possible and necessary. The question is in their qualifications. First of all, it is worth paying attention to the HR department, since the occupation by “effective managers” most often begins from this very coast. As if the development was not disdainful of HR or sales, but the right recruiters or salespeople are friends to the developer. Unfortunately, in recent years, the IT prefix has been vulgarised and popped wherever possible, but IT recruiters or IT sales people still exist.

    First of all, these are people with sufficient qualifications and understanding of the specifics of work. That is, I’m talking about HR, who clearly understand what a technology stack is, up to date with current trends in development, do not consider LLVM an abbreviated abbreviation and do not say “C with a grid”. Most often, such people have an adequate background in technologies and even tried themselves in IT-specialties, but for some reason went into the adjacent field of IT-recruiting, for which they should not be condemned.

    The same should be said about the leaders in all other directions. Even a supply manager at an IT company has no right to be far from technology, because besides the conditional purchases of toilet paper and other office life support activities, he still has minimal control over the cleaners so that they do not wipe the server racks with a damp rag.

    The best way to avoid hiring an effective manager is to look for a technical specialist for the position of the head of technical teams. This removes, at a minimum, questions with the adequacy of setting metrics, understanding the development process, and conflict of interest when subordinates are more qualified than their new boss.

    Example: your team leader and part-time senior has an “A + B” stack and 10 years work experience. Man to code writing and mentoring within the team and is not eager to engage in paperwork, a sort of Super Star from the development. At the very least, it is foolish to hire him as a leader a person with an “A” stack and 3-5 years experience. Both of these figures should be comparable in understanding the development process and technology, otherwise we get a situation where the "tail wags the dog." Stop believing in a lively resume, burning eyes and a "good impression at the interview." If the candidate does not satisfy one of the key requirements, including work experience, it is not worth the risk. Of course, you will not get his “effective manager” in his face, but you will weaken the company with such a movement, that is, bring the organization closer to a possible start of occupation.

    Here are a few postulates in the hiring and management of which it is worthwhile to adopt at least partially:

    • There is no “partial matching” position. The candidate is either suitable or not. Especially for executive positions.
    • All managers should have more development experience than their subordinates. Usually this is a gap of 3-5 years between them.
    • It is impossible to suppress direct diagonal connections between departments. Too rigid "vertical" paralyzes the work.
    • For the adequacy and performance of the exposed metrics in the first place is always the responsibility of the manager who put them. That is, the adequacy of the new requirements of the manager is first checked and evaluated, and only then the employee is checked.
    • No "parrots". Evaluation of work should be carried out according to different parameters, including complexity, and not by the number of lines of code.

    In principle, this approach can be extrapolated to any IT company. Without business managers and specifically development is impossible, it is a fact. But in any case, beware of "effective managers." They are like cockroaches: if you let one into the house of one, in six months there will be a legion that will evict you from your own “living space”.

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