Great management is a thing of beauty. In fact, we believe it's one of the most overlooked points of leverage in this world.
Think back to the teacher who had the most impact on you as a child. Perhaps they coaxed you out of your shell and provided you with a safe place to play and grow. Or maybe they cared enough to give you critical feedback that made you sit up, listen, and change your behavior. It's safe to say you'll never forget them; they changed your life.
Great managers are unfortunately a somewhat rarer breed, but if you’ve ever had one, you’ll feel the same way about them. Your manager can have a significant impact on your life, both positively and negatively. They can change the way you look at the world, coach you to overcome obstacles, and hold up a mirror so you can learn more about yourself. Conversely, bad managers can make you hate your job and then, as often happens, everything else.
Our goal is to set a new standard for great management and to help as many people as possible to get there.
This book was written by Alex MacCaw with help from the team at Clearbit, a tech company based in San Francisco. Clearbit was founded in 2014 with the intention of providing a vehicle for self-growth for all who work here. In mid-2018, our small, hyper-efficient team of 30 hit an inflection point. The company began to scale quickly, and we effectively tripled our team in about a year.
We saw effective management as a way of maintaining our company culture, values, and employee happiness during this period of extreme growth. We received a lot of coaching and help, and we were lucky enough to work with teachers like The Conscious Leadership Group and Matt Mochary. We also learned a lot the hard way.
This handbook represents the best of our collective knowledge of management. We wrote it as part of the internal management training program at Clearbit, with the goal of developing world-class managers. When we realized that other organizations would probably find it useful too, we decided to publish it.
But we can't take credit for this book. It contains no new ideas. We’ve simply curated them from teachers and writers who have influenced us. We’ve included links to their work throughout, and in some cases we’ve reprinted articles in full within chapters or in the Appendix.
You'll notice this handbook is very specific to managing at Clearbit. This is intentional; we felt that generalizing the contents would only serve to water down the message. Not all the tactics we outline are transferable to every company, but perhaps this handbook will influence your organization's own approach to management.