Hi, my name is Rob Lambert and welcome to Cultivated Management.
There are a few pillars involved in being a good manager.
Health and Longevity
You need your health. You need your friends and family.
You need the tension between work and life to be tense in the right way. That “way” is personal to you, but don’t sacrifice your health and family for work.
You cannot sit still. You must be improving year on year.
In fact, to be a good manager requires you to learn hard things quickly.
Relevance and Responsiveness
The world of work is changing fast.
Good managers keep up with this pace. They are fast to respond to changes in culture, work and technology.
Good managers are also relevant and employable in the market place. You must be hireable – it will impact your risk taking at work, in a positive way, if you have other options.
Money and Finance
Good managers get more done with less money than other managers.
They work with constraints and keep an eye on spending.
The same is true outside of work too.
Generating revenue outside of work, building side gigs and ensuring you invest wisely is also important – by doing these things you’ll feel more in control, be more focused at work (ironically) and be willing to take the risks the business needs you to take. I cannot stress enough the importance of a side gig.
Cultural and Societal Impact
If you removed a Cultivated Manager from the business you’d leave a gap. A huge gap.
Not that they are irreplaceable – nobody is.
But the gap would be obvious and it would take time to fill.
The same should be true of any great company also…..remove it and it will be missed.
As a manager you have to make an impact, on the business and it’s staff, the local community (foundation work) and of course your industry.
Cultivated managers are productive. They get stuff done. They hack themselves and their work and find ways to be better. They ship.
They share these techniques with their team. They help others improve. They strive to build flow, not just fill their capacity.
I’m still working out how to be a better manager every single day.
As I learn, observe and spot things, I will share.
Being a manager isn’t just about management theory – it’s about being a human.
Management has to be holistic.
You have to work on all aspects of you, not just management and work. What happens at home influences work. What happens at work influences home. What happens in your health influences everything.
You are a person. Your job does not define you. You are a manager, but you are also more than that.
Cultivated Management is an exploration of what is means to be a person who does management.
Consider this blog part personal journey, part solid management advice, part learning source, part bio-hack.
Big Bad Pete
Why I got obsessed with management.
My first encounter with management was when I was 16.
I worked in a supermarket for a manager called Big Bad Pete.
He was awful. A real tyrant. People would fling themselves down stairs, or lock themselves in freezers, to avoid him.
He ran the shop with a command and control mentality. The problem was it didn’t work. His staff hated him. His financial numbers were dwindling. He shouted at customers. Good people left.
And despite all of this he was loved by his regional manager (even though he rarely hit his targets).
You see his regional manager was just like Big Bad Pete.
Angry. Aggressive. Dominating. Controlling. Adamant he knew everything. Unwilling to delegate. Unwilling to accept that another way may be better.
I soon realised that managers attract managers and employees who are like them.
If you’re not careful the whole organisation becomes like the manager – this can be good or bad or indifferent.
When I became a manager I was determined not to be like Big Bad Pete.
I was determined to hire the best talent, treat them well, leave them alone to do their work, build a culture that people wanted to join, and nurture teams where people had the freedom to do the right thing (for the customer).
I did that and now I’m sharing what I’ve learned with you.
You see, when Big Bad Pete got promoted to regional manager he left the store.
In his place arrived a man called Steve.
Steve was kind, clever and people focused. He cared about people, but he also knew the bigger system could either help or hinder good people.
The supermarket flourished under Steve, financial numbers went in the right direction, people enjoyed their work and people didn’t leave very often. Steve and Pete fought. But the numbers were good so Steve was generally left alone.
Steve demonstrated to me, early in my working life, what it takes to be a good manager. No, scrap that. He showed me what it takes to be an excellent manager.
And still to this day I’m learning, improving my work and focussing on being the best manager any of my directs have ever had.
Management is hard. But it can be done with kindness, care and thoughtful decision making. This has to come from you as a person. And that’s what Cultivated Management is all about.
About Rob Lambert
My name is Rob and I’ve had an interesting journey in my career. I started out as a software tester before becoming an Engineering Manager. I’ve since moved sideways to HR taking on a role of VP of Engagement and Enablement.
- I run this blog 🙂
- I run a weekly newsletter about the future of parenting at Parent Brain
I take photos of cars and the Hampshire countryside and share them on Instagram
- You can buy some of my prints at Red Bubble.
- I run Web Testing Basics – a website with 36 ideas for those who need to test a website
- I’m the author of Remaining Relevant – a book for those looking to grow their career and find new jobs.
- I used to blog about Software Testing at The Social Tester
- I’ve pooled together many blog posts from The Social Tester, and added some new content in my Social Tester book. It’s available on Amazon – Social Tester book
- I write books
The Core Guiding Principles Behind Cultivated Management
- Better is a beautiful word – we can all be better
- Treat People Like People – be kind and treat people as you wish to be treated
- If people aren’t having fun something is wrong – management and work should be fun
- Build stable teams & flow work through them – empower teams and provide autonomy
- Communicate with clarity – all good leaders are clear communicators
- Mistakes are an opportunity to learn – they are gold in telling you where to improve
- Knowledge and understanding can only be achieved by studying – there are many ways of studying but to improve anything you must first understand it, and that requires studying
- A risky approach for one person is safety for someone else – we don’t all share the same outlook
- The other way will also work – let’s not be dogmatic about a way of working, lead with kindness instead
- Don’t inflict help – ask if someone needs help first. It’s rude to assume.
- Small is great. Small is nimble. Small is agile – try to remain as small as you can.
- But, why think small? – Set lofty goals and tackle important problems
- If it doesn’t feel right, make it right – we are all responsible for changing our work
- I value results, not long hours worked – result matter, the number of hours worked don’t – effectiveness is what is important.
Cultivated Management was founded with a fun and energetic spirit and an ambitious mission : to offer experience based insights and ideas for managers who believe that “better” is a beautiful word, that want to manage with kindness, and want to focus on building productive, stable teams.
But I also wanted to build a socially conscious business that gives back to the community.
This is why I donate 10% of all profits at Cultivated Management to charity.
I also offer a number of free training and coaching sessions for managers working in charitable or not-for-profit organisations.