Mod Note (Andy): #TBT Throwback Thursday - this was originally posted on 2/7/13
Now, most of the posters on WSO aren't managing anyone yet or even have anyone below them on the totem pole for at least a few years, but those that will (or have) may benefit from this post. There are literally hundreds of threads talking about how to deal with bosses and colleagues but rarely do you find one discussing how to treat those beneath you.
More importantly, it's probably going to happen sooner than you think. Unfortunately, I've seen even the BEST analysts fail and make countless mistakes when managing down while they have no problem with managing up. We're so used to sucking up and playing politics as the lowest guy on the totem pole that we have no idea what to do when a wide-eyed 20-21 year old is thrust into our cubicle by the staffer.
1) Leave the abuse at home
I was in one of the more fratty groups at mybut even if the entire group "hazed" the /first years collectively, always treat your INDIVIDUAL intern(s) with respect. I don't care if you got beaten with rulers or had printers thrown at you during your first year, but you are not to repeat the same behavior.
This seems like common sense, but many times I've seen great analysts decide that because they went through hell, they have the right to make others feel the same pain (or at least 50% of the pain they did) and it's okay because you can say, "Hey, I went through way worse man." No one cares about your life story, stop being a fucking dick.
2) Delegate meaningful work and provide guidance
One thing I see a lot is that the good analysts are about 3000% more efficient than any new associate or analyst. They usually give some work to the junior and then realize that it's taking him/her five times as long to do it. Even worse, you'll think, "This intern/1st year is constantly bothering me with questions every 5 minutes! Fuck it, I'll just do it all myself."
NO! As tempting as it may be to just do everything yourself in 2 hours and leave for the night, take the time to delegate the work. And I don't mean just give the intern bullshit work such as changing fonts. Yes, the intern should be doing even up to 80% of the bitch work, but make sure that he's also doing something interesting/useful. It will take a longer time to teach someone something more complicated, but you'll be paid dividends when he/she is able to take all the future tasks of that type and complete it for you efficiently.
This even goes against rule #1, which is that some senior analysts try to be TOO nice. Not giving someone any work is not being nice, you're actually just stifling them and creating a useless intern/analyst that is going to piss off someone more senior later down the road when they realize that this junior kid knows nothing and can create nothing of value. Take the time to teach and delegate!
3) Make sure that the new kid feels part of the team
Banking is all about the time you put in and no one can stand 100+ hour weeks without the bantering and joking around that happens in the bullpen. Obviously as a senior analyst you will have thousands of inside stories/jokes with your fellow colleagues that the intern/1st year is not in on. Explain to him/her the context and involve them in your conversations.
Now the important part of the article, WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU? After all, we're all immoral greedy no-good selfish pricks according to the media, why are you helping someone else?
The answer is, how you treat the new blood can have a huge impact on how easy your 2nd year is. First of all, everyone is usually assigned work by the staffer. But of course you can also request who to work with. You would think that all the new blood would want to work with the best. Yes, but that's not the only factor and was not the case when one the best analysts in my group was actually a huge dick.
Therefore, he missed out on the best 1st years for the rest of his stint because he kept regaling them with stories about how he was abused and shit on his first year. They nodded and tried to sympathize but in the end, they tried to avoid him at all costs.
By being friendly, respectful and inclusive, the senior analysts who treated the new blood well were able to have their pick of the litter. They were able to actually leave at 7pm or 8pm some nights because any new analyst is usually eager as hell to start working and learning and were well prepared to do so thanks to proper management and delegation.
Dangling the carrot of an "interesting deal" over the head of a new analyst will usually result in immense amounts of elbow grease at your disposal, but make sure you guide this naive soul in the right direction and do NOT abuse your power. The worst thing you can do is have a reputation for being a liar/user in your group. Remember the same bad associates who just dump work on you and constantly tell you "oh it's no big deal, easy stuff" but end up giving you shit projects that last for months? Yeah, don't be those guys.
However, being nice/respectful isn't the only factor. Remember to take the time and teach your shadow the right way to do things even if it takes you longer initially to get the work done. Within a few months, you could see a HUGE difference in how well some analysts did because of having good mentors that went out of their way to teach them essential skills.
Combined with respect, there were teams of senior analysts / junior analysts that absolutely killed on deals and were able to go home early on many nights while a friendly senior analyst who didn't delegate earlier (did everything himself) was staying much later with his junior analyst. Oh and finally, the dickhead analyst who kept bitching usually got the worst new analyst staffed with him or even 0 analysts, and had to do everything himself.