Mastering the Art of Wearing Many Hats

Use a mind map technique to get clarity on all of your responsibilities.

Stakeholder Management
Managing Up

Inspired by:

Elena Grahovac, Engineering Manager at GetYourGuide


Mastering the art of wearing many hats 🧢

When you step into a new management role, it can be a lot to balance: loads of stakeholders, team members eager to have an impact, your boss looking for wins, and your own tasks on top of that!

Elena Grahovac knows exactly how this feels. As both Engineering Manager and Product Manager for her team at GetYourGuide, she’s constantly working in a complex environment, juggling a lot of balls.

That’s why she uses a responsibility mind map technique to dig into her areas of responsibility.

Step 1: The center of it all 🔭

Starting from the center of your mind map, ask yourself:  “What am I responsible for?” 

For Elena, her first level nodes are:  • Myself • My team • Business impact • Relationships with other Engineering Managers • Technical excellence of my team’s products

Step 2: Breaking it down 🔍

Next, you can work on expanding your mind map. Breaking down each node will allow you to take a deeper look at where your skill gaps are and will also help you visualize the breadth of your responsibilities. 

Add in the high-level responsibilities for all areas, and then keep narrowing down your sub-nodes one level at a time. For example, this is how Elena broke down “my team”: • Team performance  • Employee journey • Team health

Continue to narrow down your nodes as needed. After you have narrowed all nodes down further, you can begin to assess how things are going and where there are areas for growth.

Step 3: Evaluate the supporting elements⛓️

Take a look at your final nodes and evaluate your confidence in each responsibility on a scale of 1 to 10. Then ask yourself, “What can support me to keep this area successful?” The answer to this question may be:

• Processes • Tools • Techniques • Questions • People/Mentors

Jot down each support element next to the node. You may even notice gaps for some of your nodes—these are great places to ask yourself how you can learn more and find new sources of support. Come back to add to your mind map over time as you learn about new ways to grow!

Step 4: Action items⛏️

You should now have a wide overview of all of your responsibilities and processes. For any areas you rated below a 6, ask yourself, “What next steps can I take to get more support?”

Come back once a month and re-rate each area to see how well you’ve been able to improve or where you need to keep your focus.

Leveraging your mind map🏋🏿‍♀️

Over time, you may find that your mind map begins to change! Maybe your team becomes responsible for a new project, or you get promoted. You can redo and adjust your mind map as you like, but try to do this exercise at least once per quarter!

Your mind map can also be a great way to support your team. In a 1:1 you could ask each team member to do this mind map exercise. Then, you can have a look at where you overlap, how best you can support them, and where you might need to outsource support in areas where there are gaps.

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