I never saw myself as the managerial type.

Probably due to the manager typecast I saw while I was serving in the military and previous workplaces. Where a manager has to be assertive, loud and know how to “get things done.”

Therefore, when I was offered my first leadership role after 2.5 years at Taboola (and 10 years in technical roles), my first reaction was fear.

Am I a good fit for such a role?

How will I handle difficult situations?

Wouldn’t it be awkward to manage people who up until recently were my colleagues?

Then again, I have a strong belief that anything can be learned and ‘how to be a good leader’ is one of those things.

I have accepted the offer and spent the next month consulting, reading, listening and watching materials about management and leadership.

I came to realize that there are many different types of leaders, and I can choose what type I would like to be.

And that qualities like patience, empathy & listening can actually be very valuable for such a role.

I can be the type of leader I would like my manager to be.

As I end my first year in a leadership role, it seemed like a good time to reflect over the past year, and share several insights & guidelines that help me in my day to day job and remind me what I should focus on (hint: the team members).

When you need to make a decision, keep your team members in mind

Sounds pretty generic and simple but it requires dedication, perseverance and patience.

For example,

  • When there’s a task you can complete quickly, but your team member will get value by doing it, delegate it to your team member (even if it will take longer).
  • Insist on a certain training/documentation that will be in your team member’s local language.
  • When a mission fails, take responsibility

Instead of blaming your team member, support him and think together what should be improved for next time.

Act the way you would want your manager to act

This is an important practice I have been trying to follow since I took on the role.

A simple rule that can make it much easier to decide how to act is to think how you would like your manager to react in a similar situation.

  • Show appreciation when your team member is working hard
  • Offer help when your team members are on a dead end
  • Inform when you are late or canceling a meeting

* If you’ll be late for a meeting with the VP, obviously you would inform him/her and add an apology to it. A good rule of thumb would be to treat your team members the way you would treat the VP.

Take a deep breath before criticizing

In other words, try to step into your team member’s shoes.

Sometimes, your team member will fail in an assignment you expected him to succeed in.

In such cases, the first reaction might be blaming the employee and thinking “how the hell did he screw it up?!”

On a second thought, you might recall that the employee had some personal matters lately causing him to lose focus.

Or that he handled a few other tasks this week with great results and you are judging him solely based on one incident.

Before reacting, take a breath, think together with your team member what went wrong and how you can help.


Relates to the second principle – act the way you would want your manager to act.

For me personally, it is hard to be engaged on a mission I don’t understand, and the rationale behind it was not clearly explained to me.

Therefore, when displaying a certain mission to my team members, it is very important for me to explain first why we are doing it, what is the logic behind it and the importance of it.

Not just ask them to do it “because I said so”.

Give credit

One of the challenging changes to make when shifting from a technical role to a leading role is that you no longer rely only on yourself.

The team’s success is your success.

It is ok to (and you should) give the credit to your team members and let them stand out.

Seeing your team members grow, improve and succeed is one of the most satisfying feelings you get as a leader and a good indication that you are doing something right.

“The leaders who get the most out of their people are the leaders who care most about their people”

Simon Sinek

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