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Adopting a “Subcontractor” Approach to Managing

Paula Long

Paula Long is the CEO of DataGravity, a data management firm based out of New Hampshire that emphasizes mutual accountability. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Long spoke about her unique management techniques, the importance of mutual accountability, and her interesting approach to interviewing. Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • After you become a manager, nobody really works for you. In fact, you really work for them.
  • It’s your job to help people be successful; it’s not your job to make them successful.
  • It’s important to assert what you’re good at and why it matters.
  • Work out when it’s OK to micromanage, and when it’s not.
  • Consider a “subcontractor” approach to managing. By creating individual, contract-like, relationships between staff and managers, each party approaches the contract agreeing to put in equal amounts of effort in good faith.
  • When it comes to interviewing, consider asking “stupid questions” to see how a candidate answers. Try making false statements to see if a candidate corrects you, or pick a fight to see how they react to conflict.
  • When advising college graduates, Long emphasizes that it’s OK not to know what you want to do. Don’t cut off the ability to explore. Remember, it’s harder to explore as you get older as you have different commitments.

Click here to view the interview in full.