About this Blog

This blog is an attempt to capture a variety of management patterns that I have observed in my experience, as well as to discuss management and team leadership within this context.

What are management patterns?

Management patterns are my observations of recurring practices in the area of management and team leadership. Both the name and the concept are loosely modeled on the notion of software design patterns. The idea is that a manager is constantly faced with a small number of archetypical problems which vary in their details but not in their overall form. For example, one such problem may be to make a decision between a cheap short-term solution and an expensive long-term solution. Such archetypical problems also lend themselves to archetypical solutions (or patterns) with which they may be handled. Again, the details will vary, but the overall approach need not. Understanding a pattern allows a manager to have a framework with which to come up with a unique solution to the particular problem they are facing.

I will also be using the term 'management pattern' to apply to something a bit different, which is a behavioural pattern or pathology which is quite common amongst managers. For example, I may describe as a pattern the tendency of many managers to seek to withhold unsettling information from their team.

Who should read this blog?

The primary audience of this blog is people who find themselves in management or other team leadership positions. It is my belief that understanding common management patterns and anti-patterns can help leaders to be more mindful and methodical in their application of management skills. In many organisations managers receive little feedback from those who they lead, while in turn their manager (who is responsible for evaluating their performance) has little insight into the quality of that person's management. This dearth of meaningful feedback makes it easy for a leader to slip into bad habits, so it is important to learn to recognise those habits in oneself in order to improve job performance.

Anybody who works in a large organisation (and therefore has a manager) may also derive some benefit from understanding a bit about the types of patterns their manager employs in fulfilling their role. With this understanding comes insight into a manager's behaviour and an opportunity to engage meaningfully with the manager to help them do their job better.

Note that I come from a background of software engineering, and so my views of common management tasks is naturally coloured by my experience in this field. No doubt there are significant differences in the expectation and responsibilities and expectations of a manager in other fields, so not everything may be applicable. However, management is in the end about people, so I believe there in enough commonality in human nature and organisational dynamics across industries and fields that many management patters are universal.

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