Delegating vs MicroManaging

Just read a great post by Steven Sinovsky in his “Learning by Shipping” blog, which he started, just after he left MS. This is one of his few rare concise posts. He has a ton of experience and fantastic in-depth into software management, but some of his posts just run too long. I liked this one.

The problem is clearly stated in the words of a first year MBA student:

High-performing people generally want autonomy to get things done without anyone micromanaging them.  At the same time, as a midlevel manager, I’ve often had someone above me who’s holding me accountable for whatever my direct reports are working on.

I’m struggling to find the right balance between giving people their autonomy while also asking sufficient questions to get the detail I need in order to feel comfortable with how things are going. 

And Steve provides 5 tips to find the right balance between delegating vs micro-managing.

  1. Delegate the problem, don’t solve it.
  2. Share experiences, don’t instruct.
  3. Listen to progress, don’t review it.
  4. Provide feedback, don’t course correct.
  5. Communicate serendipitously, don’t impede progress.

I mostly agree with all of them. My favourites (which I try and practice as much as possible) are (2) and (5). I am a big believer in Management by Walking Around (for middle managers atleast). It is so much more productive for the manager and the team.

Maybe sometime later, I will write up something myself on what I feel one can do to find the middle ground. But for now, you can read the full article here.

Three Signs of a Leader

A great article on signs that you might be a good leader. Contrary to some people who think, only folks who are in action all the time are good leaders, these 3 point to subtle soft skills that good leaders exhibit.

1. You lead only when you have to, not all the time.

2. You see much more than you do.

3. You change people. They achieve outcomes.

Read the full article here.

Cadillac’s Comeback


We did this as a case-study when I did an Engineering Management class at University. This Co.Design article captures beautifully the rise to the top of Cadillac, and how it fell during bad times, and how since 2000 they have slowly crawled back. If you have driven sedans in the US, and if you have ever driven a Cadillac, you would know the difference in driving a Caddy and the rest. The luxury is very evident.

Read the Co.Design article here.

(pic courtesy the same Co.Design article above)

Feedly: Bring back the big green check mark

Dear Feedly

Could you please bring back the big green check mart which used to appear just below the article list? This used to be so much better.

What was:


Once I was done flipping through the articles, I would just go ‘bam’ on the “Mark feed as read”.

But now:


See how much I need to scroll to get to the teeny check mark. This happens especially bad in the Magazine view. It is slightly better in the cards view. But the check mark is still small. I want that big smacking green check mark to go ‘bam’ on when I am done reading my feeds.

Please feedly – in the interest of going mainstream, don’t take away these small pleasures.


Recent Greader->Feedly Convert.

Huawei ‘considering’ Nokia acquisition

This should be interesting. Huawei is number 3 in the Chinese volume handset market. The news article says that Nokia is still mum on the subject. Stefen Elof (CEO of Nokia) is still sticking to his Windows Phone Bet (quite obviously – he was a VP in MS before he became CEO of Nokia).

Read the ZDNET article here.

One man’s redesign of the PRISM slides

By now, we would have all read and shown our rage against PRISM and NSA and how our data is being watched. By now, we would also have settled down and accepted it as normal, and get back to whatever we were doing earlier. Emiland did not get back to what he was doing. He just thought that the slides were horrendous and created a slide set on how he would have created them. And they are wow.


Vegetarian’s Survival Guide to World Cuisine Eating

Whether you are traveling the world (on leisure or business), or are being adventurous and trying out an international cuisine restaurant in India, this article helps you eat without worries.

An excerpt:


The relative absence of dairy makes it easy to eat vegan at an Asian restaurant. Order steamed vegetables, stir-fried tofu, lo mein, brown rice or any other meatless offering at a Chinese place. Go for miso soup and a vegetable sushi roll if you’re eating a Japanese meal. Thai, Vietnamese and Korean restaurants usually offer multiple vegetarian options on their menus as well.

Strict vegans: Always ask to make sure your meal won’t contain any fish sauce or stock.


Although it seems like this category would be the toughest one of all, it’s probably the simplest—just go for the side dishes! Build a “sampler platter” of sides like grilled corn or asparagus (hold the butter), a dinner roll or two, steamed broccoli, a baked sweet potato with cinnamon sugar, or even steak fries.

Strict vegans: Ask whether your veggies can be cooked on a separate grill or otherwise apart from where the meat is cooked.

Breakfast & Brunch

Whether you find yourself at a Denny’s or at a fancy-schmancy brunch spot, there are lots of options when it comes to breakfast food. Fresh fruit, oatmeal, hash browns with ketchup, granola, bagels and toast with jam are a few great ones.

Strict vegans: Request that your oatmeal be prepared with water instead of milk, and always remind your server you don’t want butter on your toast.

The other cuisines covered are Indian, Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Pizza.

Read the article at menuism here.

(via lifehacker)