You’re bound to make mistakes as a new manager – but here are the biggest, most common pitfalls to avoid in your first 30 days as a new manager.
I’ve never quite known the proper word to describe the feeling of being simultaneously elated and terrified – but your first 30 days as a new manager is that feeling.
You don’t want to mess this up. You’ve been reading The Effective Executive and High Output Management, googling “management 101” and “first 30 days as a new manager”, and talking to mentors about the “should’s” and “should not’s” of leadership… all in hopes that you won’t make any egregious blunders during your first month on the job.
But quite frankly, it’s bound to happen. You’re going to make a mistake, or two, or twenty. When we’re new as leaders, we operate out of instinct. It’s an instinct formulated from what our former bosses have done, honed by our own value system of what we personally prefer, and our best guess for “So I think this will work?” But we don’t really know if it’ll work.
What should you do for your end-of-the-year review with an employee? Use this one-on-one meeting template.
With December upon us (already!), many managers have been asking me if I have a one-on-one meeting template for their end-of-the-year review with a direct report.
Yes, I do have one 🙂
The end of the year is an opportune time – an ideal time, truly – to reflect together with your direct report, on what went well, what didn’t, in what they were most encouraged, and in what ways they weren’t.
Over the past 2.5 years, I’ve interviewed 49 leaders for our podcast on leadership, The Heartbeat. These are the leadership lessons that have influenced me the most, personally.
“What are the biggest leadership lessons you’ve learned from others, that have changed or affected your own management style?”
No one had ever asked me this question before – let alone on my own podcast show – until recently.
Who asked me this? None other than Jason Fried, CEO and co-founder of Basecamp. I’d invited Jason back on The Heartbeat, our podcast on leadership, for our 50th episode. He’d been our very first guest back in 2017 when I started the show. (Jason also sits on our board and originally spun out Know Your Team back when it was a part of Basecamp).
For this 50th anniversary episode, I thought I’d turn the tables: I asked Jason if he might interview me. And so, Jason asked me this never-before-asked question, “What are the biggest leadership lessons you’ve learned from others, that’s changed or affected your own management style?”
If you manage other managers, holding skip level one-on-one meetings with their direct reports is paramount. Here’s how to do ’em.
If you’re a manager of managers, skip level meetings are your lifeline. I don’t mean to sound bombastic, but if you’re a CEO, executive, or director who manages other managers – then skip level meetings are an essential way to keep your ears on the ground.
Skip… what? If you’re anything like me, when I first heard the term “skip level meeting,” I was befuddled. Yes, I held one-on-one meetings with my team. But as the team grew and I had a manager who had someone else reporting to them… I wasn’t talking to their direct report with any regularity. How was I supposed to ever learn what that team members was thinking and feeling about the company if I never talked with them?
Don’t waste your time. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your one-on-one meetings with your direct reports.
You’re feeling good: You’ve started to hold regular one-on-one meetings with direct reports. But have you paused to ask yourself, lately, “Am I making the most of them?”
The question is worth asking. One-on-one meetings with direct reports can have a surprisingly large impact on your team’s performance. In Google’s widely known 2009 manager research code-named “Project Oxygen,” they found that higher-scoring managers were more likely than lower-scoring managers to have frequent one-on-one meetings with their team members.
Our own survey results revealed a similar narrative: After surveying 1,182 managers and 838 employees from all over the world this past year, 89% of managers said that one-on-meetings positively affect their team’s performance – and 73% of employees said that one-on-one positively affect their team’s performance, as well. For both managers and employees, the majority of them think of quite highly of one-on-one meetings.
A perfect time to give feedback doesn’t exist – but some times are better than others. In deciding when to give feedback to a direct report, consider these 4 things.
“When is the right time to give feedback to an employee?” A manager asked me this last week during a workshop I gave at the Business of Software Conference.
“Sometimes, I want to give feedback but I’m worried it’s going to come across as too petty, or that I’m nitpicking. Should I wait until there’s a time when it’s about something a bit bigger? Or should I give the feedback immediately to them, regardless? Is there ever a right time to give to feedback?”
I told him that he wasn’t going to like my answer: It depends.
Depending on who the person is, what the feedback is, what is going on in the work environment, and even what mental state you are in – all are factors in to when to give feedback to an employee. Choosing the timing well is important. It has big impact to how likely the person is going to change their behavior based on your feedback, going forward.
Do this instead. Here are 6 ways to motivate your team that doesn’t undermine their intrinsic employee motivation that they already have.
“I need to figure out how to motivate my employees.” When was the last time thought that to yourself? It could’ve been the other week, when you noticed one of your direct reports dragging his feet on a project that’s critical to the company. Or, perhaps it was the other month when you felt frustrated that your team wasn’t being proactive about addressing customer issues.
If either of these situations feel even remotely familiar, you’re not alone. I hear this sentiment of “how to motivate employees” frequently from managers we work with who use Know Your Team, and I often am asked countless questions about it.
You’re giving feedback because you want your team to improve. Here’s how to give feedback that precisely helps nudge your team in the right direction.
The reason you’re giving feedback is because you want something to be different, in the first place. You want a direct report to make sure he’s not rubbing the rest of the team the wrong way. You want a new hire to improve how she interacts with clients.
It can be easy to lose sight of this amidst the hoopla of management material that screams “feedback is important” and the day-to-day grind of managing your team and executing on your top priorities. But that’s the point at the end of the day (and in many ways, the most important part of your role as a manager): To encourage your team, constructively.
The tricky part is giving feedback in a way where this becomes true – where your team does feel encouraged to change their behavior. After all, there are so many ways it can go wrong. They can misinterpret your feedback as being aloof and off-the-mark and ignore what you have to say. They can be offended by your feedback and over-compensate in certain areas. They can feel blindsided by your feedback and become demotivated in their work.
Figuring out, “Is there a right time? Is there a right way?” to giving feedback is key.
Virtual team building is tough. Here are 7 ways you can build social connection in a remote team, even from afar.
I’ll be shocked if you’re shocked: Building social connection in a remote team is the hardest part of managing a remote team. According to a survey we ran this past fall with 297 remote managers and employees, “fostering a sense of connection without a shared location” was seen as the #1 most difficult part of being a remote manager – and the #1 most difficult part of working remotely, in general.
It’s predictable. When you work in a co-located office, you walk by someone’s desk and give them a friendly hello, catching up about their weekend. You notice a coworker’s body language appears a little “down” so you ask if they want to grab coffee later. You share a joke over lunch with another colleague when you realize you both oddly adore the same brand of obscure New Zealand mints.
Those serendipitous moments of social connection don’t happen with the same frequency or fidelity when you’re working remotely. As a result, the sentiments of “Ah, we’re in this together” or “You’ve got my back” can be absent in a remote team, unless you deliberately foster them.