What is the most important career lesson you've learnt so far?

Hey folks :wave: long time no see! Sorry I’ve been away from the community for so long :pensive: but I’m back now!

Something that’s been on my mind is that I’ve just started to manage a couple of people here at Monzo but feel slightly under-equipped. I’d love to read your insights on:

  • How to be a good manager
  • How to display your soft skills
  • Things you wish you knew when you first started working

Any thoughts welcome, but if anyone has any particular thoughts on management I’d be grateful! Can’t help but feel like I’ve got huge responsibilities and I wanna do right by the people I’m managing :sweat_smile:


Avoid mixed messages (friends one minute, tough boss the next), treat everyone equally and equally fairly, don’t be afraid to express doubt about your own opinions and approach and listen to your colleagues, but always own the decisions that are made (take responsibility for your team)


Be understanding is a great thing. Always communicating with your team and keeping updates how they feel (work and home life) and how work is. Be up to talk since they know your a new manager and work as a team and work on skills and be very honest and let them be honest back about improvements.

Things I wish I knew when I started would be that it’s okay to ask lots of questions (but write down the answers so don’t keep annoying).


I’ve been privileged to manage large teams on some important infrastructure projects and learnt a lot from people around me and especially from those working for me

For me, the key has been paying attention. Making sure people know they are being heard and their opinions count. For teams to stay motivated people making up those teams need to feel valued. As a manager, this has been my constant goal to make sure everyone feels part of what we do. No matter who they are from cleaner to CEO they are kept in the loop and informed.
This gives the insight into how people are doing in your team and if they need some assistance to do their tasks. But making sure that they don’t feel micromanaged and actually not being micromanaged. Everyone needs some space and everyone is different. No set rules!

It depends on what level of management you are, for me taking a genuine interest in someones well being and their personal life (to an extent) has been part of what I do and how I do.

MBA doesn’t help and it’s not worth much in real life :smile:


Haha! I wish I could convince my parents this is the case, but where I come from an MBA is very much a status symbol :sweat_smile: I wasn’t great at uni though so hopefully I won’t need to do it. I’ll just show them your post!


Accountability is so important! I’ve had bosses who’ve taken credit for successes and blamed others for failures in the past, so I completely agree.

Hey Rachel! I think we sit on the same bank of desks now :blush: Completely agree. Love it here at Monzo that we can be pretty open about our external situation outside of work and everyone is super on board and understanding if we need to take some time for ourselves.

This applies on me too so I totally get what you mean (life of asian kids is much different. Yes Kids! In eyes of our parents we don’t grow up). I wish I had spent the money I paid for MBA on something else, like for a house deposit lol.
As an International Student I paid about 20k for my 2 years for a paper which has most probably been lost.

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I am Totoro desk come say hi at some point tomorrow (WFH today). I love Monzo but only here another 4 weeks due to temp job. Going to apply for part time I think after since everyone is so nice.


As in my neighbor totoro?! :heart_eyes:



I have 2 plushies of totoro on my desk from the studio ghibli museum.
:hot_coral_heart: totoro


I only work part time too! 4 days a week :blush: you should defo do it

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I think :monzo: would be silly to let @RachelR go after all the amazing work done to keep our feeds looking good !


In management, be aware of the culture and background of your staff. The way that business is done in, say, Poland, can be different to the UK. Being “honest” or “to the point” can come across as rude, angry or abrasive, and if you are someone’s manager you can’t be coming across that way, even if you don’t mean it.

I previously had a Russian line manager, and I genuinely thought she didn’t like me at all by the way she communicated with me, and what she expected of me. Coming in “on time” and leaving “on time” was seen as a bad thing, and requesting TOIL was “frowned upon” - turns out she was just bringing her previous working ethic back home to the UK and it didn’t always translate. Eventually - someone has to give.


I love this advice :hot_coral_heart: I had two Italian managers in a previous role and their work ethic is really different (and it was amazing to work with them, but definitely an adjustment)

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I had two Italian managers in a previous role and their work ethic

Can you elaborate? I’ve worked in a company pretty much ran by Italians and I haven’t actually noticed much difference (I guess they got out of my way and I got out of theirs so we didn’t have anything to argue about :joy:), so curious to know about your experiences.

But I do agree that cultural differences are huge in some countries with respect to the workplace - for example the complicity we are used to here in the UK between employees and management is completely unheard of in France.

Their passion! Also they are very up front and frank about what they’re feeling - completely different to the British managers I’ve had before. All cards on the table, all the time.

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Their passion ! Also they are very up front and frank about what they’re feeling

Definitely agreed. I guess it just considered it normal and expected and that’s why I didn’t pick up on it.

Up front and frank is good in some instances, and not in others. I personally do not like it, as it comes across as rude to me. British culture is changing in the workplace, but not very quickly. To be a good manager you can’t railroad your employees to your way of doing things, particularly if you are in a different country to where you started out working.

I love culture, and learning about different cultures and ways, and I think we can learn from each other. But if there is any aspect that clashes with the “native” culture (I hate that phrase but I can’t think of any other way of putting it) then this is, ideally, for you as the manager to change about yourself, or adapt rather.

I second this - been loving @RachelR’s work!


As a psychologist once suggested - “Pay careful attention to the effect you have on other people”.