Creating a Unicorn

by Jacqui Hogan

Creating a Unicorn – those almost mythical hybrid managers who understand both the Tech and the Business. 

Management is the art of getting the best from your team, without getting in the way of allowing them to use their skills to produce the best results. This is especially true if they are highly technical or senior professionals.

In top performing organisations, 80% of managers are rated as effective or highly effective – compared to just 39% in low-performing companies.  Ineffective management mean higher costs, below par performance and unhappy customers.


Green UnicornAre Proactive

My first day as a manager came as a big shock. Suddenly I was no longer solving those technical problems I understood. I was no longer the expert. I’d had no management training, but these other people were looking to me to tell THEM what to do. My boss was expecting me to KNOW what to do. I soon realised that I could not wait for someone to tell ME what to do, I now had to anticipate and act before chaos came down on the team. 

A Unicorn will:

  • Anticipate
  • Act
  • And only focus on those things they an change or influence and not to moan about those they can’t

Define clear Goals

As far as possible, define the goals in terms that can be measured. Then, as changes are proposed (and they will be!), you have a set of well understood and defined criteria against which to measure the impact and relevance of changes. And there will be changes! 

A Unicorn will:

  • Know the Business priorities
  • Create defined and measurable goals and objectives
  • Focus on the desired outcomes

Understand the Business Priorities

Effective Managers will know what the wider business priorities are, and will be able to judge whether an ‘urgent’ request is actually important, or whether it can wait. And be able to manage those who can’t tell the difference.

A Unicorn will:

  • Understand what’s important
  • Delegate appropriately
  • Focus the team on what’s important

Aim for a win-win

Effective Managers seek not just to deliver the defined objectives at any cost, but to gain the maximum mutual benefit to all involved. They know that in always keeping the desire for a mutually satisfactory solution in mind, they have a much greater chance of being successful. They know that this may mean sacrifices, but also that they must stand up for important issues too. They know that this means striking a balance between courage and consideration for others. 

A Unicorn will:

    • Build relationships with the Business
    • Collaborate rather than compete
    • Focus on maximum success for ALL participants


Leaders and good managers are always aware of what’s going on around them. They know what is happening outside of their organisation, within their own business and within their own team. They do this by having effective listening skills. Through good listening skills you acquire information, enabling you to identify and clarify issues, make decisions, resolve conflict and be creative. 

A Unicorn will:

  • Actively listen
  • Put themselves in the other person’s shoes
  • Focus on mutual understanding

Nurture their team

Effective Managers seek to understand the motivation and skills of every individual in their team. They create teams that make the most of these individuals and create an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding. People work faster and smarter if they feel that they are really part of a team. 

A Unicorn will:

  • Understand what motivates each individual member of their team
  • Value diversity and creativity
  • Focus on creating a whole that is greater than the individual parts

Review and Learn

Effective Managers take time to review what is going well and what could be improved going forward without assigning blame. They know that assigning blame kills motivation and shuts down the improvement process. They also know that a simple and sincere ‘thankyou’ to individuals in the team makes all the difference. 

A Unicorn will:

  • Reguarly review with their team what is working and what isn’t
  • Be prepared to change
  • Focus on Business as well as Tech success

Click here to get your FREE copy of ‘6 things to do TODAY to  become a better Manager’

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