Please note that the next Manager Challenge has been paused until further notice.
Team member can reach out in the #learninganddevelopment Slack channel with any questions about upcoming manager training or utilize their Growth and Development benefit for external training opportunities.
You can learn more about our current manager development program on our Elevate handbook page.
Developing mangerial skills is no small task. While taking on a new or expanded role as a manager brings great rewards, it also introudces new challenges. To be successful as a manager it requires management training that develops your ability to lead a functioning team while implementing management skills and abilities such as adaptive leadership, building trust, psychological safety, and conflict resolution.
The Manager Challenge addresses your specific needs to understand the qualities of a good leader and to master practical leadership styles that empower you to become a confident people leader. Effective leadership is grounded in your understanding of powerful interpersonal skills that inspire performance, communication, team member retention, and motivation to achieve results.
The program was awarded a Gold Excellence in Leadership Development by the Brandon Hall Group for the Best Unique and Innovative Leadership Development Program. Brandon Hall operates the largest and longest running awards in Human Capital Management. The GitLab program was evaluated by a panel of learning and development veterans, senior industry experts, analysts, and executives. L&D is thrilled to have been recognized for this achievement!
If you plan to participate in the Manager Challenge, please discuss with your manager. Let them know you are interested and will be dedicating the three weeks to actively participating. This is not like the CEO Shadow program, but the Manager Challenge will require a heavy time investment. If you plan to participate, try to do everything you can to block one to two hours each day during the program. This is an intensive program with the goal of covering a lot of material in a short amount of time to increase knowledge retention. There will be more synchronous activities, less async, this challenge due to feedback from past participants.
L&D is making some significant changes to the program in the meantime, but expect to dedicate at least five to seven hours per week. Some participants, request additional time to complete the async activities so please plan accordingly. You must attend and/or complete at least 80% of the activities to be awarded a certification.
All details relating to the next iteration of the Manager Challenge program can be found on this page.
You may be asking yourself what you will achieve by taking part in the Manager Challenge program! Our goal is that participants walk away with the following skills after completing the three-week challenge:
In addtion, the program ties into GitLab's strategic priorties through the following:
Below is a video L&D recorded with Sid on manager enablement:
L&D measures the success of the Manager Challenge by the following:
Participants will complete the following:
Week 1 will be focused on developing your leadership style as a manager, differences between an Individual Contributor and Manager, leading all-remote teams, and much more!
|Week 1||1 hr 20 minutes||Session 1 - Program Kickoff: Developing Your Leadership Style. Adaptive DNA as a people leader. Introduction to the Manager Challenge|
|Week 1||Async||Session 2 pre-work|
|Week 1||1 hr 20 minutes||Session 2: Building High Performing Teams or Team Effectiveness Tools|
Week 2 will be focused on management fundamentals, coaching team relationships, building trust, and aligning values to inspire motivation
|Week 2||1 hr 20 minutes||Session 3: Fundamental Behaviors of Managers|
|Week 2||Async||Pre-work for session 4|
|Week 2||1 hour||Session 4: Coaching team relationships|
|Week 2||50 minutes||Optional group coaching session on inspiring motivation and aligning values|
Week 3 will be focused on performance management, constructive conversations, tools for engaging a distributed team, and a panel discussion with senior leaders
|Week 3||50 minutes||Session 5: Performance Management 101 and Constructive Conversations|
|Week 3||Async||Async - Reading and/or async collaboration|
|Week 3||1 hour||Session 6: Panel Discussion with Senior Leaders. Action Planning and Next Steps|
|Week 3||50 minutes||Optional group coaching session and peer-to-peer learning|
Participants will also be asked to complete a program evaluation.
Following the Manager Challenge, participants are encouraged to do the following:
|Week 4||50 minutes||Post Program Office Hours: Discuss Lessons Learned, Growth Plans, and Actions for Next Phase of manger enablement|
The Manager Challenge Program is a blended learning approach that incorporates self-paced learning and live learning sessions to build management skills to lead all-remote teams. The program incorporates leadership assessments, interactive live learning sessions, and digital learning.
The program is intended to build a set of baseline skills that complement our values to enable Managers to lead teams at GitLab.
How will it help
Learn the basic principles of what it means to be a manager using a whole-person approach to leadership. The curriculum was built using principles from the book High Output Management, interviews with senior leaders, and GitLab management practices.
What do I need to do
Set aside time each day to participate in the challenge (1 hour) and live learning sessions (1 hour 20 minutes). Complete the weekly learning evaluations, comment on the challenge issues, and fill your individual growth plan. If you are unable to prioritize the training for the 2 weeks, please consider signing up for a session at a later date or discuss additional options with the L&D team. In addition, there will also be async learning options for participants that are unable to attend the live learning sessions.
See the video below for a quick overview of how we use GitLab to facilitate manager enablement
Throughout the program, we ask that managers to create or refine their Individual Growth Plan. We encourage Managers to self-reflect on their professional development as a people leader and identify areas where they can advance their skills. The document is intended to be a starting point for managers to document where they can improve as a people leader.
Following the completion of the GitLab Manager Challenge program, participants will be awarded a certification! The certification will be sent to a team member who has completed at least 80% of the daily challenges. Once a team member receives a certification, they can post it on their LinkedIn Profile.
What people leaders at GitLab learned during the program:
The Manager Challenge Pilot is set up within the GitLab Tool. We are using Epics, Sub Epics, and Issues. There is one main Epic for the whole program, a Sub Epic for each week, and then an Issue for each day.
Example of Manager Challenge Pilot Set Up:
Learning & Development Team Tasks
The modes of communication during the challenge include Slack and GitLab. Ensure that there is a specific channel in Slack set up for challenge members, as well as a group tag in GitLab.
Each day, once the issue is opened, add the group tag to the issue so participants receive an email notification that the daily issue is ready. For the pilot, the tag was
The Slack channel for the pilot program was
#manager-challenge-pilot. Each day, once the issue was opened, a message was posted in the Slack channel with a link to the day's issue.
Live Learning Sessions
Each week of the challenge has one day of live learning sessions. Depending on the locations of the participants, it can be determined how many sessions are held on the Thursday of each week.
Approximate times for the live sessions to ensure timezone coverage include: 7:30 am PT, 1:00 pm PT, and 6:30 pm PT.
After the challenge has been completed, it is suggested to have a live retrospective where participants can come and share any feedback about the program. The time(s) this is scheduled for can be the same as the live learning sessions were during the challenge.
For the pilot Manager Challenge program, the Learning & Development team held a retrospective session to discuss with participants how we can iterate and improve the program moving forward. Anonymous feedback and ratings were captured throughout the pilot challenge. Each week participants filled out a learning evaluation form for the weekly challenges and overall program.
In September 2020, the L&D team piloted the Manager Challenge to a group of People Leaders in People Success, Engineering, and Product. Learn more about the pilot content by reviewing the pilot epic.
Pilot Kickoff Video: