[Note from Daniel: This guest post, from my friend Steve Tolman, is part of an occasional series about important career role models. I also worked with Steve Jackson, and I agree with Tolman that his energy and dedication instilled many great skills in those who worked on his teams.]
While I worked at PowerQuest, and Symantec after its acquisition of PowerQuest, I worked with a man named Steve Jackson. He started somewhere around 1999 or 2000. In our organization we had about seven or 8 Steves so we all went by our last names. I was simply, “Tolman” and he was “Jackson.”
Jackson was the director and VP of all software engineering. He was my manager and quickly became my friend. He took his job very seriously and I learned a great deal from him.
By the time I left the team in 2008, I had learned how to run a team, how to build and release software, and how to work well with people. One of my peers, Lane Johnson (one of the best managers I have ever known, who left the team at the same time) asked me what it was that made Jackson so dang good. We thought about it for a while and concluded that there was not that proverbial one-thing-you-need-to-know that made him great, but more along the lines of about a bazillion qualities. A little time brainstorming gave us a list of 45 different skills, techniques, or approaches. Here are just a few of the highlights.
Believe in the individual
Jackson’s default mode was to trust people. Trust them to fit into the team and trust them to do their job, but expect them to do a stand-up job for you. Get the right people on the bus (read the book Good to Great for more info), give them an assignment, then get the heck out of their way and let them shine. Continue reading