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Core Competencies

We talk, and I mean A LOT, about what technical roles are and what is required to succeed as an individual contributor. Core Competencies: those things you must, MUST have in order to be good at whatever it is you're doing.

As an IC, anyway.

Managers... seem like a different matter. We know, in theory, what a good manager looks like, if only by pointing at our experiences with previous or current managers and saying "well, not that; whatever the opposite of that is." But negative space with regards to core competency isn't actually all that helpful. And a big piece of whether we think a manager is "good" or not boils down to "did I like this person, and did they appear to like me?" in the end. And while that's an important part of being a manager (and arguably an important part of being a good manager), it's probably not actually how we should be measuring.

I'm not as curious about what executives think makes a good manager, because those are generally KPIs that have nothing to do with the manager. Did this project deliver? On time? Within budget? Was the turnover low? All of which is related to numbers and mostly to money and almost none of which has anything to do with whether or not the manager was actually doing anything.

So what makes a good manager? From the perspective of the people being managed, and maybe from the perspective of our peers doing the managing, how do we measure "good" when we don't have a clear understanding of what those core competencies need to be, let alone how we measure and improve and manage (pardon the pun) them?

I actually don't have any answer here. I mean, I know I'm good with people, I like working with them and I like helping them, but I've got no idea whether I'm a good manager or not. So I'm wondering if there are good resources out there that I could share, and how I would go about sharing them with my peers.

If you're a manager: what do you feel are your core competencies? And if you're managed, what do you feel those core competencies should be?

Hit me with those comments and links. I'm listening.

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