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Before becoming a boss, you should practice managing and mentoring



bharath jayaraman new headshot.JPG
“You hire adults, you
treat them like adults,” said Bharath Jayaraman,

Courtesy of Bharath

  • Before making someone a boss, allow
    them to have some management experience, so they know what
    they’re getting into.
  • That’s advice from Bharath Jayaraman, vice president of
    people at Paxos and a former HR exec at Facebook and
  • Jayaraman recommended allowing would-be managers to
    mentor a new hire on their team and then decide if this is
    something they’re interested in.

Becoming a boss isn’t easy.

You go from being evaluated on your technical skills to being
judged on your people-management skills, and possibly from
working all day at your desk to spending hours on hours in

It’s a jarring transition for many new managers, said Bharath
Jayaraman — but it shouldn’t be.

Jayaraman is the vice president of people at financial technology
company Paxos; he’s previously worked in human resources at
companies including Facebook and Amazon. Jayaraman shared with me
several ideas for better preparing employees to be managers.

One option is to give that person some informal management

“Never make anyone a people manager without making them a mentor
for a new hire on your team first,” Jayaraman said. “Set very
clear expectations that, as a mentor, [their] role is to help
them navigate the company effectively and help them understand
where they’re blocked.”

Another option Jayaraman proposed is to organize groups of people
who have expressed some desire to be managers and have them go
through more formal training. Every few months, a new cohort of
would-be managers might review and discuss case studies, or work
with coaches and mentors.

“When people go through that and then say, ‘Hey, this is not what
I thought I would do as a manager; I’m not sure that’s for me,’
that is a great outcome.”

Read more:
For smart people to be great bosses, they have to move away from
what got them promoted in the first place

Research suggests that most American workers don’t, in fact,

aspire to be managers
A survey
by professional staffing firm Addison Group,

cited on Bloomberg
, found that just one-third of American
workers believe that becoming a manager can advance their

Instead, one expert told Bloomberg, many young workers today want
to be “knowledge experts,” as opposed to people managers.

The problem is that, at some companies, people-management seems
like a natural next step in their careers, even if they’re not
particularly inspired by the idea.

“You hire adults, you treat them like adults,” Jayaraman said.
“You tell them what it means to be a manager and let them make a
decision about whether they want to do it or not, which is
probably the most effective way to sort of minimize some of the
early mistakes that a lot of people make.”

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