In this blog series, Manager Moment, we shine a spotlight on the awesome managers in our community. Being a manager is a tough job aaaaand it’s a really meaningful one. In fact, some of us have been lucky enough to have a manager who changed the trajectory of our careers.
Join us in celebrating the wins, sharing the hard stuff, and learning alongside our Mintable Managers. In this installment, we had the pleasure of speaking to Sydney-based Praneeth Kumar Gedela, VP of Engineering, @ iluminr.
Michelle: Tell me a bit about your background. What brought you to the role you’re in today?
Praneeth: I started my career as a developer for a year in India and then worked in Singapore and Australia for the next 17 years. Over all these years, I worked with enterprises in various capacities and I told myself a story that I was an IC (Individual Contributor) and will keep it that way.
But in 2017, I intentionally started looking for a fresh start which would ignite me with adventure and challenge. I joined iluminr, a small Sydney-based start-up, in my first job in a start-up. I really liked the attitude the leadership team brought to the table – it was so refreshing that it was hard to turn the role down 😊
Little did I know then that there is so much room for growth and improvement in a start-up, and my boss gave me an opportunity to grow into new roles by taking on new challenges. Since then, my responsibilities have included leading small teams, building systems, and recently taking on the role of VP of Engineering.
Michelle: Congrats on the promotion! Tell me about a turning point in your management career and how it changed your management/ leadership style.
Praneeth: As mentioned above, I never considered myself to be leadership material, although I am big on Personal Leadership. I always put effort into becoming better at taking ownership and commitment.
In the 4-5 years I’ve been in my current role, there have been multiple phases of growth in the form of an increasing number of team members, growing complexity in our platform, and many moving parts within the Engineering stream.
Every change always starts with that phase of feeling overwhelmed and anxious because of the unknowns and uncertainties around it.
This was when I realized that I needed to be ahead of the growth curve of my business, trying to anticipate what was coming in the next quarters. Working closely with my boss and the rest of the company, this attempt to look into the future enabled me to be better prepared and equip myself with any gaps in my knowledge and execution, which propels the business forward. It’s a work in progress 😊
Michelle: What is your favorite leadership/management book?
Praneeth: Multipliers by Liz Wiseman.
I’ve read a few leadership and management books (including Dare to Lead by Brene Brown, Radical Candor by Kim Scott), but my favorite is Multipliers.
This book is filled with brilliant insights and action points. Multiple reads have helped me improve awareness of my leadership style and my diminishing qualities to be corrected.
I also like that it doesn’t just leave the reader with points to reflect on, but there are also chapters filled with practical applications that I can use in our company and team setting.
Michelle: Who is your favorite manager, and why?
Praneeth: My current boss, CEO of iluminr, Joshua Shields.
Working closely with a person that embodies healthy leadership qualities, those qualities tend to rub off on us. And this is my experience working closely with Josh for the last five years.
The degree of grit and perseverance he displays in action inspires me, and I tend to copy it in my own small ways. He always expects more from me and my role, yet he gives me the space to grow into my role, which is the kind of support I need.
I’m still learning from him how to challenge directly but with empathy, which I think is a worthwhile quality to improve upon in any business setting. Also, given his sales background, his negotiation skills (which I believe are solid) are ones I would also like to learn from and improve in myself 😊
Michelle: What's the best tip or lesson you've found beneficial from The Mintable so far?
Praneeth: I thoroughly enjoy and find useful the plethora of resources and valuable tips that The Mintable community shares in the forms of documents, podcasts, messages, and newsletters.
I am still collating various resources shared by the community into my personal folder and tweaking them to the context of my team and business. Also, The Mintable Slack community is very engaging and enthusiastic and we’re constantly encouraged to share a tip or two with the community members
Missed our last Manager Moment with TeamForm’s Adam Bottega? Read it here.
Managers, discover more about you can invest in your development with the The Mintable’s training, tools and community here.