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As managers we often learn the most from others. Everyone from the terrible bosses we vowed never to imitate, to brilliant peers running happy teams, to the feedback from our own team members.
So wouldn’t it be great if we could ask thousands of people about the best thing their manager has ever done for them.
We’d probably learn a lot.
Julie Zhuo, celebrated author of The Making of a Manager, did exactly that.
She got over 500 replies, detailing exactly what people most appreciate from their managers.
We’ve categorised and analysed all those tweets.
The trends and the individual stories are a timely reminder of all the things our teams want to see from us as their managers, in their own words.
Unfortunately it’s probably a case of correlation not causation, sorry everyone. Still, it’s one of the more interesting outcomes from a recent survey of 1000+ workers looking at the habits of high-performing teams.
One of the hardest questions we face as managers is whether we’re actually doing a good job. Surveys like this give us some insights into the characteristics of other well-run teams which we can then compare to our own.
Here’s some highlights:
At some point, we’re all likely to run a hiring process which includes internal candidates.
As one study recently showed, this needs handling very carefully.
The first thing to say is that hiring from within is great. It sends a very positive message about progression within our companies and internal candidates have existing context and relationships which help them have a more immediate impact than an external candidate.
However, if you’re interviewing internal candidates, at some point you’re also going to reject some of them - either in favour of another internal candidate, or an external one.
It’s here that it gets tricky.
After analysing more than 9,000 rejection experiences of employees at a Fortune 100 company over a five-year period, researchers at Cornell’s Industrial and Labor Relations school found that rejected internal candidates were twice as likely to leave their company than those who hadn’t interviewed.
As the authors make clear though, the answer is not to stop hiring external candidates who might be a better fit, but to best manage the inevitable rejections of internal ones.
They found two areas which halved the likelihood of a rejected candidate leaving the company:
You don’t need us to tell you that Zoom-fatigue is real and most managers feel they have too many meetings. Here’s one way to help.
This was inspired by a recent story about 30-person startup Convictional. To help their team focus on their work, the company has minimised meetings and doesn’t use any messaging tools like Slack.
The company has one all-hands meeting every three weeks, and each employee has a weekly 1:1 with their manager, otherwise all meetings are optional. That’s right, even if the CEO invites you.
If you don’t feel it’s a worthwhile use of your time, the company’s norms are:
Now if that sounds a bit radical for your team, we think there’s a lighter version of this to get started.
For any meeting you organise, why not ask your team members:
‘If this meeting was optional, would you attend?’
You might learn a lot about which meetings your team members actually value.