Learn How to Inspire Your Team, Get Out of the Weeds, and Go From Manager to Leader

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I’ll show you how the world’s best tech leaders empower their teams, lead without
(micro)managing, and find joy in their work.

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"Holy crap, I might be someone's WORST BOSS EVER."

That’s not something that most of us want to think about. At the same timevery few of us know what differentiates a good manager from a bad one. (Hint — it’s not foosball tables!)

And being a good manager is more than just being able to go home at night and say my team likes me. Being a good manager means the difference between a team that works, and one that’s dysfunctional. The difference between joyful productivity and endless debate about tools.

In fact, of all the reasons that people leave companies, having a bad manager is at the top of the list. According to Gallup, over 50% of employees cite “escaping a manager” as a reason for quitting a job.

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Do you have to be in the middle of every decision?

Would work grind to a halt if you took a month's vacation?

Are you exhausted trying to keep up with everything?

Does your team endlessly debate technology, without shipping on-time?

Are you writing code because you don't know how else to get things done?

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“People join companies, but leave managers.” – HBR.org

People may join a company for salary, growth opportunities, mission or new tech. In the interview you talk about your agile process, cool-kid culture, and world-changing mission.

Yet the number one reason they quit is because they don’t have a good relationship with their manager.

Think about that.

Relationships are the number one factor in determining if someone is satisfied at work. And people who enjoy their work are more productive, more engaged, and don’t leave for other jobs.

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What are the signs that there may be a problem?

If this sounds familiar, I've got news for you:

You're dipping dangerously close to being a clueless boss.

And even worse — once you’ve built those habits, it’s hard to break them.

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It's hard to see our own habits

In the 1989 BBC Series “Blackadder Goes Forth”, actor Tim McInnerny affected a nervous tick for his character. But after the filming was over, the tick had become so ingrained that it took him two full months to get rid of it.

Now imagine that you’re not even aware that you have any bad habits. Maybe that’s the way YOUR boss did things. Or maybe you’re following the framework from one of hundreds of business books.

Or maybe you’re JUST NOT SURE WHY you manage the way you do.

One thing’s for certain: you learned it somewhere, from someone.

I hope you’re starting to understand why it’s so hard to be a good manager, and why there’s no such thing as a “natural” manager.

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You're not alone.

I’ve worked with thousands of managers — from companies like Box, Netflix, JELD-WEN, PayPal and others — and they all deal with the exact same issues with their teams.

It seems to be a universal truth of management; even for me.

I was a micromanaging boss for years because it’s how I was managed, and how my boss expected me to manage others. Even when it felt wrong, I still kept doing it, because I didn’t know any other way.

It took me a long time to unlearn what I thought I knew about management, and to understand how actions that I thought were innocuous were really damaging my team, and my credibility.

So what’s the solution?

Business books aren’t really a help, because they tend to focus on the ideal situation. In fact, 90% of business books teach frameworks and systems — because those are things that are easy to teach at scale.

The problem? Those frameworks tend to create heavy-headed, nit-picking, by-the-book managers. These manager have a set of ‘rule’, and by God, they’re going to use them!

BUT, what if you could lead with inspiration instead of micromanaging your team into mindless drones who curse you behind your back?

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The problem is that you're managing when you should be leading

Pause for a minute and consider the difference. Managing applies to things, which is why we say that we “manage our money”, “manage our time”, “manage our code”, “manage our website content”, etc.

No one ever said, “I need to lead my money better.” That’s just silly.

But you must learn to lead people.

Yes, many bosses (micro)manage their developers. And, for a while, it can even seem like it’s working. However, it’s an outdated practice born of an assembly line and factory management that was never meant as a means of developing software in the 21st century.

Your team is already motivated… but you’re killing their mojo. They can do a lot more, but something’s holding them back. They don’t offer ideas, take risks, or dream big. Instead, they complain, play it safe and wait to be told what to do.

Managing your developers actually turns them into ‘code monkeys’.

Treating motivated, educated, experienced developers like code-monkeys is as absurd as asking Jony Ive to fix your MacBook, or Picasso to paint your house.

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You might be surprised how common your situation is

Do these sound familiar?

“I don't feel prepared to actually manage people when it comes to that. I know there are skills I don’t have, particularly around difficult conversations. And lots of unknown unknowns of course.”

“I’m assuming a manager position, with no previous experience, and with most of the team with way more time in the company than me. How do I start?”

“I don’t have trust from my team, they don’t find 1 on 1 useful, so they don’t see the value.”

“I have constantly changing priorities from upper management making it very difficult for our team to actually complete a given project.”

“My team is overly quiet and won’t speak up until something is just about to blow up. Why???”

“The problem is that people don’t like the way I lead. Or, maybe they just don’t like me.”

“The way I think about work tends to be tactical and very short term. I suppose this is because I need to trust my team more to manage the short term, tactical work.”

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Introducing

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The only proven step-by-step workshop that has helped hundreds of managers improve their skills, and re-invigorate their teams.

Here’s how it works:

In just 6 weeks of video lessons and hands-on exercises, you’ll get the step-by-step lessons you’ll need to improve your team leadership skills. We’ll walk through every step of the way together, with exercises for your team, live Q&A, panel discussions with experts, and accountability from other managers in the workshop.

Here’s what you’ll get over the 6 weeks:

  • New videos lessons delivered each week
  • Hands-on leadership activities to do with your team
  • Live Q&A session where you can get help.
  • Intimate live Q&A sessions with industry experts from management, agile, negotiating and career paths.
  • Discuss the lessons and your experiences with the community
  • You can participate from any timezone on the planet.
  • You can apply it within any process, from agile, #NoEstimates or (gasp!) waterfall.
Everyone starts together, but you finish at your own pace.
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When you've completed the workshop, you'll know exactly how to

  • Understand what motivates software engineers
  • Build professional, trust relationships with each member of your team
  • Use the Satir Model to help your team navigate change
  • Create an environment where everyone can fully contribute to problem-solving
  • Conduct one-on-one meetings that your team will love!
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Here's what we'll cover during the 6-week workshop

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Module 1:
The difficulties of transition

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and lost in your transition from developer to manager, you’re not alone. You’ll learn WHY this change is so hard, strategies for navigating this change and build confidence around your new identity as a technical leader.

Module 2: What is leadership?

You’ll learn a practical framework for technical leadership, the MOI(J) model.  You’ll gain insight into your innate leadership style, and learn to use others. And we’ll finally answer the age-old question: are leaders born or made?

Module 3: The leadership lens

Throughout history most people have subscribed to the “Great Man Theory” of leadership, imagining that leadership was mostly about the leader. You’ll learn how to apply new scientific studies which shatter misconceptions and reveal the single most important factor in your developers' performance and satisfaction.

Module 4: Offering effective feedback

Leaders must learn to offer effective, actionable feedback which can be used to improve. Without feedback, your team feels lost and in the dark. They spend more time worrying about their jobs than doing them. You’ll learn how to offer feedback that respects your developers and empowers change.

Module 5: Getting the feedback you need

Without fail leaders are frustrated that their teams won’t give them honest, clear feedback. Like a car hurtling down a dark road without headlights, they’re driving blind. Learn how to get honest feedback, how to respond to feedback, and how to create a safe environment for people to give feedback to each other.

Module 6: Effective 1:1 Meetings

Most programmers hate the thought of 1:1 meetings, and you might too. We’ll apply everything we’ve learned to use the powerful 1:1 framework which builds trust, benefits your team and helps unleash their best ideas.

Bonus Module: Creating problem-solving teams

Developers love solving problems, but many managers inadvertently build teams which depend on themselves too much. This mistake consumes all your time and forces you to be in the middle of every decision. Instead, you’ll learn to empower your teams to solve technical, process and business problems safely with confidence.

Bonus Module: Creating teams that learn

The hallmark of great agile teams is learning together, from success and failures. Yet most managers simply hope their developers won’t repeat the mistakes of the past, without guiding their teams through the learning cycle. You’ll discover a powerful learning model and learn how to use the ORID framework to facilitate continuous team improvement.

Super Early-Bird Pricing: $997

Super Early Bird Price ends on December 18, 2018

Regular Price: $1,697

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Need to level-up your team fast?

Want a program customized for your team?

Consider a custom, in-person workshop.

If your team (or managers) need to improve fast, then an in-person workshop might be right for you.  We create customized 1-4 day workshops tailored to your needs and deliver them on-site.

Customized group leadership and teamwork training start at $15,000.

The first step?  Get in touch and let's chat. Call us at 541-805-2736 or drop us a line at marcus@marcusblankenship.com

The "You gotta be happy!" Guarantee

If you decide this isn't for you, for any reason, I'll immediately give 100% of your money back, no questions asked.  I want you to be happy with your decision.  No questions asked.

Sounds good, but I have questions.

I'm too busy to put something new into practice.

It might seem like you’re too busy to take another class, another training, or implement another practice, but that’s short-sighted.  It’s not difficult to imagine how busy you will be if your team can't deliver on time. If you’re already “too busy”, building a high-performance environment is one of your most important initiatives.

I'm not a good enough manager to inspire people to be loyal.

Nah!  If you can learn to code (a completely foreign thing to humans!) you can learn to relate to another human being.  This isn’t rocket science, and like any skill, it can be learned with a bit of practice.

I'll be unable to put these ideas into practice where I work.

I have never found an organization where these practices could not be implemented, from agencies, to start-ups, to enterprises.  Like anything worth doing, it will require effort on your part, but you will not be alone.

I don't have the authority to make changes needed to keep my developers happy.

Your boss doesn’t want to see turnover either, so he’s also motivated to keep your best people.  We’ll explore how you can work with upper management to create the kind of environment your people need to be happy and productive.

Will this work in any timezone?

Yes.  You can read/watch the lesson at your convenience, and participate in discussions anytime.  I will rotate the time office hours take place to support people around the world.

"I require every new manager that reports to me to sign up for Marcus's newsletter, and often discuss it in staff meetings. Leadership with a capital "L" is a real part of the discipline I now bring to the coaching experience with my team.

I continue to work one-on-one with Marcus to this day, and I hope I will always be able to lean on him and dialog about challenges.

He is worth way more than you can ever pay him."

Andrew Coven, Director of Content Acquisition Engineering, Netflix

Who is Marcus Blankenship?

Hi, I’m Marcus Blankenship and was a Team Lead, Software Manager, and CTO for the better part of nineteen years. I’ve spoken at conferences, led workshops on technical leadership around the US, coached CTOs, and helped companies like Box, Netflix, JELD-WEN, PayPal and others create high-performing software teams and grow effective technical leaders.

I’ve lead software teams which build products that delivered over $1 BILLION in sales, spanned six continents, and included hundreds of people. These days I routinely command an effective hourly rate of $2000+ per hour.

The unconscious acceptance of (micro)management as the only option for leading technical teams is a collective hallucination that literally keeps me up at night. In fact, I dream of a future where every developer thinks, “I have the best boss in the world!”

Care to join me? You’ll be glad you did (and your team will thank you!)

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