As we’ve said before, we like the First Round Review. They consistently interview interesting leaders with perceptive views on managing teams.
Their latest piece is a consolidation of insights into ‘The 25 Micro-Habits of High-Impact Managers’. As you might imagine, with 25 habits to get through, the recommended reading time is 20 minutes...
If you have the time, you’ll almost certainly take lots away from the whole piece, but we wanted to pick out three areas we liked.
It’s often said that high performing teams are characterised by high levels of psychological safety, where teammates feel comfortable sharing ideas, asking for help, and challenging the status quo without fear of failure or penalty.
One way to help your team achieve this is by describing a time where you felt you failed and what you learned. You can’t expect your team members to be forthcoming if they don’t see this behaviour modelled by their manager.
“Share a story where you've failed personally or professionally and what you learned as a result. It sheds light that we're all human and on the same level. It allows team members to share their concerns and feel like it's okay to fail.” Trish Leung, Senior Director, Pantheon
First Round spoke to several managers who emphasised the importance of your team knowing they have your support, particularly if you’re asking them to reach for ambitious goals.
“Early on, my manager told me, ‘I don't want you to mess up. But if you mess up, I will have your back.’ This instilled in me that my manager trusted my decisions, was willing to help me through potential failure, and subtly applied pressure to live up to that trust. He said it once, but it was impactful enough that I still think about it when I face a new decision in my role.” Madeline Willett, Associate Director, Verto Education.
This, and other quotes in the piece, echo comments from our article earlier in the year on ‘What’s the best thing a manager has ever done for your career’. In that survey, the number one factor people valued was knowing that their manager believed in them.
This is something we don’t do often enough.
When someone on your team does something excellent, don’t just tell them. Make sure you tell other people. Tell your boss. Tell their peers. It will do wonders for their professional reputation, it will make it more likely opportunities come their way in future, and the recognition can be a wonderful motivator.
“Every weekly meeting with his direct reports, my manager has us each share some amazing things that members of our groups have accomplished recently. These team members could be four-plus levels removed from my manager. My manager then sends a short, but extremely impactful email to all the folks that got mentioned recognizing their accomplishments. It's often a surprise to folks that someone many levels removed has that level of visibility into their work and is aware of their contributions.” Edwin Chau, Engineering Director, Brex
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We’ve compiled a list of questions you can ask your managers and team members to identify the challenges they face, and help you pick the right solutions.