communication

The Non-Technical Manager's Challenge

The Non-Technical Manager's Challenge

People with “non-technical” backgrounds (i.e. those who aren’t engineers, data scientists, or similar) often have difficulty directing more technical subject matter experts. Even without directly managing them, people can find themselves managing projects or making decisions that impact what more technical resources have to do. Failure to communicate and establish trust can easily lead to conflict given the gap in shared context between the business and technical side. Some conflicts are inevitable, even desirable; conflicts born from mutual distrust aren’t.

 

Building Trust: How Communication Skills Set You Apart

Building Trust: How Communication Skills Set You Apart

Just like you can’t expect even great products to sell themselves, you can’t rely on your work to speak for itself. Good work usually doesn’t speak for itself- you have to speak for your work. Communicating your ideas in a way that resonates with your audience (which implies you’ve thought about what will resonate with them in the first place) shows them that you understand what they care about. To put it another way, it shows that you “get it.” Managers are more willing to take a chance on someone whom they think “gets it.”

Jerks Be Warned: You're Never Too Busy to Be Nice

Jerks Be Warned: You're Never Too Busy to Be Nice

I’ll say this about bad bosses: they perform a vital role in the economy. By repelling people like Adam who want better for themselves, they inadvertently send talented people out to pollinate other teams, companies, and industries with their brainpower. From a macro perspective, bad bosses may be a net benefit to the ecosystem. Of course, that matters not a bit to the individuals who have to work for bad bosses and the companies that suffer as a result of their presence...

Gain Peoples' Trust - Learn (the Right Way) to Say "I Don't Know."

Gain Peoples' Trust - Learn (the Right Way) to Say "I Don't Know."

Recently, I found myself in an impromptu meeting at my desk with several colleagues in the midst of a debate over how to implement a new software feature. We needed to reach a decision so that the engineers could get on with their work, but our available options each had drawbacks to consider. As the product manager, I had the final say over how the software should behave, but I couldn’t see a clear winner no matter which way I looked at my choices. The answer was that I didn’t know the answer. Even better, I realized didn’t care because it wouldn’t make much of a difference in the big picture. So I let them figure it out...

Crisis Communication: The Fastest Way to Demonstrate Leadership

Crisis Communication: The Fastest Way to Demonstrate Leadership

Every now and then we all have to break bad news to our superiors, our customers, our investors, or whatever audience to whom we ultimately answer. As it was, is now, and forever shall be, Adam’s advice to young employees holds true: the farther out you can spot potential trouble and let your manager know, the better chance there is that you can prevent it from becoming a larger issue. But we all know that things we can’t always do this. What do you do when the opportunity to nip a problem in the bud is long, long past? 

Want to Be Taken Seriously? Communicate Like a Boss

Want to Be Taken Seriously? Communicate Like a Boss

Communicating with your superiors like peers is a subtler extension of the same practice of thinking like a manager from the outset. By interacting with your managers on their level, you encourage them to treat you like a peer as opposed to someone whose experience and judgment pales in comparison to their own. By communicating with them the way their peers do, you encourage their communication “muscle memory” to take over so they don’t think to adapt their style....

How to Find the Hidden Problems at Your Company

How to Find the Hidden Problems at Your Company

You would think finding the biggest problems facing an organization should be easy because of their importance. But in practice, new hires usually don’t get the full story about what’s going on at the companies where they work. People who have been at the company for a while can be reluctant to discuss the big, scary problems with outsiders and recent hires. I can attest to not divulging “the dirt” to new hires about shortcomings or difficulties at the places I’ve worked...