Why Management at Startups Is Critical

Learn about the critical role of the manager in the early stages of a startup.

At this point, you should see that there’s plenty of scope for using startups as an opportunity to land that first management position, or perhaps, after you’ve become comfortable and tenured with management, making a giant leap into being VP of Engineering.

Misconceptions about the managerial position

However, as you’re probably aware, many engineers have a stereotypical view of managers. Perhaps, they feel that management is busywork when compared to the “real” work of getting the product out the door. Perhaps, they think that it’s where the bad programmers go to get a pay raise. Perhaps, they think that it’s entirely pointless altogether.

I hope that if you had any of these feelings when you started the course, they’ve now dissipated. However, there may be people out there that think that management has no place in startups and small companies. They may feel that management is something for companies with 1,000 employees rather than 10.

After all, some startups take more radical approaches to management such as self-organization via Holacracy, where the organization is designed not as a typical tree structure, where reporting lines cascade down from the CEO, but as self-organizing circles with clear purpose and accountability. Other alternative governance structures include TealFrederic Laloux. Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness. Nelson Parker, Brussels, Belgium, 2014., which promotes self-management guided by consistent practices, purpose, and values.

Yet, regardless of how the organization chart is constructed, and regardless of the stage of the company, the skills that you’ve been learning in this course are highly applicable, and often more widely than you think. Even if you aren’t managing a team, you can benefit from better self-management, a mindful approach to communication with individuals and whole departments, knowledge of how to advertise for roles and how to interview candidates, and so on. You can apply what you learned about the challenge of working with humans and on complex projects anytime. Management skills transcend the role itself.

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