There’s this sub-culture in startup-land where everything revolves around hiring and retaining “rock star” engineers. And I think it’s mortifying. Not the idea itself, but the implications.
I have heard it over and over from people I respect. But there’s a subtle insinuation that the blame of poor execution rests on whether or not somebody is a “rock star.”
Let’s flip the focus around: what is the difference between a good and bad manager? It’s simple:
- Good managers make everybody better. Bad managers don’t help anybody, but hopefully don’t make anybody perform worse.
- Blaming somebody for not being a “rock star” is an easy way to shift the blame from yourself.
- If managing “rock stars” and firing “non-rock stars” is what management boiled down to, managers wouldn’t be needed.
Hiring a Kobe Bryant for your basketball team is a good idea. But it’s preposterous to blame a losing record on the lack of a 5-man Kobe team.
History is full of leaders pulling off great feats with an unknown team of rookies. Be that leader. Elevate the team. The role of a manager is to help people produce their best work — “rock stars” or not. And, if anything, great leaders forge the rock stars everybody ends up talking about.