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The "Ask a Manager: Skills" Lesson is part of the full, Engineering Management Fundamentals 101 course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Jem discusses with Ryan Burgess about the skills he relies on most in his day-to-day work. Ryan emphasizes the importance of people skills, such as observing, asking the right questions, and understanding deeper-level issues. He also discusses the value of learning through experience, reading books, observing good and bad leaders, and engaging with other leaders in the company. Ryan highlights communication and avoiding micromanagement as skills that are often lacking in new managers.

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Transcript from the "Ask a Manager: Skills" Lesson

[00:00:00]
>> And now for the Ask a Manager portion with senior manager Ryan Burgess, and we're talking about skills today. So Ryan, what skill do you lean on most in your day-to-day?
>> I think I'll take your nice compliment that you left me earlier is that I lead with people skills.

[00:00:15] I think that that is something that I find that I lean on a lot is just observing, asking the right questions, really trying to truly understand some of the deeper level things that you may not think of. Like even someone tells you something, even if they're having a problem, they're not gonna sometimes and straight up to say that, right?

[00:00:36] They're hinting at it but they may not wanna throw someone under the bus and so you're able to read into some of those situations a bit and ask follow up questions. I'm sure there's many things I missed, but I do feel like just paying attention to those subtle nuance in the way someone says something is kind of poking at that and asking questions can go a long way.

[00:00:58]
>> Observation and asking questions.
>> Yes.
>> I love that, yeah, I don't think we covered that, but that's an important skill. What's your favorite way of learning as a manager?
>> It's a tough one, I don't know that I've quite found, actually, I'll say the cheap answer is it's learning by doing.

[00:01:13] It's constantly learning from my own mistakes and going, wow, that did not work or that didn't land, and how would I do it differently? So it's a learning and reflecting on what you've done, but I also like to read books, like I do find that there's always something that you can learn from it, not everything like you said Jem the first 90 days which I think I'm the one who told you to read that

[00:01:35]
>> You did [LAUGH].
>> It's like there's some really good insights in there, yes, there's some of the things you're like I would never do that or I wouldn't take that approach, I think it's good. Another thing is learning through good leaders, but also learning through bad leaders, I got to call that one out.

[00:01:51] I've had some really good managers over the years, I've had some really bad managers, and it's funny that you learn a lot, is like I wouldn't do that, or this didn't work. And so I think observing there is a big thing too, is just paying attention to what others are doing and just talking with other leaders in your company can be beneficial or going on those slack groups and conferences and things and just similar as engineering is like learning about different techniques and talking about it.

[00:02:20]
>> I agree with that, I would add my favorite way of learning is doing it, but being a parent has taught me a lot about being a leader of people that I can't control directly. And more about controlling myself and how I show up, which is,.
>> One of my favorite management books is actually a parenting book, so I do see the connection there.

[00:02:44]
>> Is it a how to talk to your kids or listen to it so it gives,
>> It's actually a great book that people should absolutely read, it is so helpful. You don't have to be a manager or a parent, it's really just how to communicate with people, I think is really an effective book to read.

[00:02:59]
>> A lot of overlap there.
>> Could you repeat the name of that book?
>> What was it again?
>> I always screw it up, but it's like how to listen to your kids or how to talk to your kids so your kids will listen. I always mess up the title, I do actually in my slides have it as a reference and so I highly recommend checking it out, it is a good book.

[00:03:20]
>> And Ryan, what skills do you see missing in most new managers?
>> Funny enough, it's the people skills, I feel like, well, I mean, we were engineers first, right, that's where it often starts. And however you got to management, that's usually the first leading part because you still want those technical skills.

[00:03:40] And you might've been at the top of your game as an engineer, and there are different skill sets, and so the people skills often is neglected, and so that's a big one. Communication you talked about Jem, I think that's one that is tough, it's one that as a leader, you're constantly wanting to get better at.

[00:03:59] I always strive for better communication, whether it be my verbal or written communication. People interpret it like you said, the slack emoji can mean so many things, I don't even think of that sometimes, and it can be read differently and so communication is so important. And then another one that I would say is a bit of a failure of as a new manager is micromanaging.

[00:04:20] You feel like you have to own someone's work or really help get your hands in there. It's really hard because you wanna make sure that you're doing something as a manager, but that's oftentimes the mistake that people make is micromanaging.
>> Yeah, well, thanks Ryan, thanks for sharing your experience.

[00:04:39]
>> Thanks, Jem.