My working experience with people managers

I know I might not a best person to justify if someone is a good people manager or not considering my short working experience, but sharing a thought about it should not be any harm, right? Just a background, I have worked in two different companies until now, with total working experience almost five years. I believe I could still be considered as “rookie”, as per my understanding that the first two years you actually still in learn and adaptation stage, and start contributing only on third year. Here I am, already on my third year in my present company, and yet I feel I should have contributed more to my job.

I have experienced several managers, of course. In my previous company I tasted different managing style from three managers: first manager who recruited me, second one who took over his role and last manager who took over from the second manager. Frankly speaking, I didn’t learn as much as I hope from my managers back then. Sure, I learnt about how to handle difficult manager, how to cooperate with them and do some reports for them, however I was not motivated by them. Though I have great friends there that supported me day by day, I felt lack of motivation particularly related to my work.

With a hope to gain better income and more experiences, I moved to my current company two years ago. Until now, I still think that was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. It’s completely a different area, pressure and also environment. I am now surrounded mostly by expats who (most of them) act fairly regardless how old or how experienced you are. Though it was overwhelmed in the beginning, luckily I could adjust myself quickly and blend quite well with my team.

My first manager was good. He is a smart person with expertise on logistic and planning. His excel ability is great, often makes me want to steal it right from his head. I felt motivated to be better in my work so I could catch him up with my ability. My only issue with him was his perfectionist attitude. Several times he would bring up some mistakes that I did and repeated it over the day without realizing how stressful it was for me. However I could not really blame him, because his manager was even harder to him, so I guess he’s just transferring down to his subordinate who, unfortunately, was me.

When he moved back to his country, I took over his job and reported directly to my previous manager’s manager. I was really nervous in the beginning as he is a really strong manager with good capability to drive others in doing what they have to do. As I predicted, several times he addressed some issues with me and gave me hard time. But in other hand, he also challenged me to think outside the box and to find out best solution for our customers. His focus on customer satisfaction moved me as it’s aligned with my internal value in working. From that point, my respect for him was hugely increased, and remains the same until now.

Even though he is no longer my manager, we often talk about things, either work related or not. There were some time when he gave me some advises though he declared clearly in the beginning that I could take or leave it as he was not my manager anymore. That’s one value I like a lot from him: he’s trying to be a good coach for his people, not only in work but in life. Just yesterday he invited some people including me to spend some time with him as part of our team activity. Instead of only having lunch and sharing stories, he created a discussion about appraisal and shared his suggestion to help us in handling the process and not to feel nervous about it. I believe not many managers have thought about it, and I appreciated that a lot.  I think it is fair for me to say that he is the best people manager I have known so far, and I am lucky to know him well.


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