The Right Stuff

So many of my posts have been about bad managers. Now I would like to focus on a good one. Peter Giles started out leading a team. Then he quickly became the manager of that team. I was not on the team that he managed. But I moonlighted helping them out. I found Peter's skills exceptional. He knew how to keep morale high when times were tough. More importantly, he knew how to protect rank and file employees from being bothered by customers. This allowed members of his team to get things done.

I recall one specific instance where the customer asked if we could oversee an integration test for the customer. I told the customer that I thought this was acceptable. But Peter came out and stated that this work was out of scope and we would not be doing it. He was nice but firm with the customer. Basically he said this was not our job and we needed to focus on our contractual tasks. In the end, the customer found somebody else in their organization to do the work. That's a leader I want to work for.

In a few months I got my wish. Peter was promoted to manager of the entire project. We have quite a large project too. When I went to Peter's cubicle (now a corner office), I recall noticing leadership books on his bookshelf. I guess these were not for show. Peter was easy to deal with because he started out as a developer and then became a team lead on another project.

The irony of this good manager is that the customer decided to get rid of us and let another company take over the contract. I almost wanted to follow Peter on whatever project he transitioned to when he was done. Pete seemed unconcerned about the project ending. He made a couple calls to some friends of his, and got a couple jobs offers immediately. When you are good you get many options I suppose. I think I want to dissect more of Pete's outlook and track record in the months to come on this blog.