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Manager Challenge

GitLab via Independent



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.

Leadership Development Award

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!

Team Member Time Investment Level

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.

Make the program part of your career development, and include in your Individual Growth Plan.

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.

Manager Challenge Learning Objectives

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:

  • Improve your team performance by strengthening management skills
  • Develop a management style that incorporates a whole-person approach to leading others
  • Apply and learn GitLab Leadership best practices into your management role
  • Evaluate difficult management situations with greater certainty in your decisions
  • Build an inclusive environment for your people that is built on trust

In addtion, the program ties into GitLab's strategic priorties through the following:

  1. Mitigating Biggest Risks associated with:
    1. Lack of Performance Management
    2. Ineffective Management
  2. Achieving GitLab Strategy of:
    1. Inclusive Growth & Development for Team Members

Measuring success

L&D measures the success of the Manager Challenge by the following:

  1. Number of promotions and/or lateral transfers of participants in the Manager Challenge
  2. Manager satisfaction scores in the Engagement survey
  3. Growth & Development scores in the Engagement survey
  4. Learner satisfaction from program evaluation
  5. Percentage of participant goals achieved



Participants will complete the following:

  • Leadership Style Questionnaire
  • Manager Challenge participant profiles
  • Required pre-reads and async work

Week 1 - Developing Your Leadership Style

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 2 - Management Fundamentals

Week 2 will be focused on management fundamentals, coaching team relationships, building trust, and aligning values to inspire motivation.

Week 3 - Leading Teams to Achieve Results

Week 3 will be focused on performance management, constructive conversations, tools for engaging a distributed team, and a panel discussion with senior leaders.

Participants will also be asked to complete a program evaluation.

Post Manager Challenge

Following the Manager Challenge, participants are encouraged to do the following:

  • Join the #manager-challenge-alumni slack channel
  • Complete an Individual Growth Plan
  • Share learnings from the Manager Challenge on the Manager Challenge alumni page
  • Create quarterly sync sessions to come together with cohort participants
  • Attend the post-program office hours on

Taught by

Wendy Barnes, Brittany Rohde, Pattie Egan, Carolyn Bednarz, Robert Allen, Beverley Rufener, Cassiana Gudgenov


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