I mentioned in a previous post how the teachers and mentors you have in your younger years have a major influence on how you develop as an individual. I think that’s also true of your managers and your working life. With that in mind, and continuing this week’s theme of paying people back with thanks during the holiday season, I share with you here the great managers I’ve had in my 15 years in the tech sector.

There’s a saying that you should never manage anyone who’s older than you. Many of the ones below have successfully debunked that myth.

In more or less chronological order:

Jim Maher, former CEO of Allfinanz. A man who knew how to take the right risks, and was never afraid of walking away from a bad deal, Jim took a gamble on a guy untested in the tech space. I think he feels it was worth the risk.

Jonathan Gale, formerly Sales VP of MessageLabs, now part of the behemoth that is Symantec. Extremely able head of sales who took me on to manage a new service – and a new departure – for the company. Now heading up New Voice Media.

Stephen Millard, formerly Marketing VP of MessageLabs. Stephen started my career in product marketing. An excellent manager who understood intimately that management was about finding the right balance between delegating and guiding.

Gary Thomassen, formerly Direct of Product Management and Marketing at MessageLabs. Another first-rate manager and that rare breed who understood that you can pretty much leave specialists to themselves when they’re armed with their objectives.

Donal Daly, founder and CEO of The TAS Group. There is pretty much nothing that this chap can’t do better than you in your own field of expertise within his business. Sickeningly gifted and visionary.

York Baur, formerly CMO at The TAS Group. Immensely knowledgeable across a panoply of subjects, and infinitely patient and gracious on the regular occasions that his decision was a better one than yours. A huge fan of NASCAR, but hey, no-one’s perfect.

Paul Watson, formerly CEO at Star Technology Group. Living proof that nice guys do finish first, Paul has managed a number of projects that I helped him with as a consultant. Another extremely shrewd guy who excels at getting the best – which is not the same as the most – out of his people.

Andrew Norman, Director of Sales and Marketing at eSellerPro. With a dauntingly broad remit, Norms still finds the time to be a superb manager of people, whether they are staff, contractors or partners. One to look out for.

There’s eight of the best for you.  If you too have worked for one of them, you’ll know what I mean.