By Bennett Fisher
Good managers have a dirty secret.
It often appears that they all have amazing and innate super powers that enable them to successfully lead high performing teams, organizations, or companies through just about anything.
The truth is, at some point in their career someone somewhere taught them that there is a structured, easy to follow, and effective process that any manager can implement for great team management.
In this post, we’ll step through the various phases of a holistic process that managers at any level can easily internalize and adopt. We’ll then use upcoming blog posts to go deeper on each topic so if any of these seem interesting don’t forget to sign up for our blog to be notified when they drop!
1) Strategic Planning (Late Summer)
Strategic planning is a great thing for any team to do at least once a year. The goal of this is to get your team leads together (in person or remote) to discuss major strategic items relevant to your organization. Where do you want your business to be in 3 years? What are the key strategies needed to make that happen? What didn’t work last year that needs to be changed?
Blog post: Strategic Planning is Key to Team Management Success
2) Annual Goal Setting (Sept-Oct)
Once the strategic questions have been surfaced and answered, you should work with your team leads to come up with the specific objectives that the team will strive to accomplish in the coming year. When doing this, make sure to keep in mind your manager’s goals and what the company is hoping to achieve as well.
Blog post: MBOs and OKRs and SMART goals, Oh My!
3) Goal Cascading (Quarterly)
The next step is to cascade the goal setting process down your organization to each subsequent manager. This should be done quarterly which ensures alignment up and down the team and greatly increases your probability of success. Each employee will understand exactly what they need to do and how it connects into the larger strategy of your organization and the company.
4) Team Meetings (Weekly)
As you move into execution mode, the first thing to think about is your weekly team meeting. This is an important and regular meeting with your direct reports where you surface any cross functional issues, identify critical communications, and celebrate wins. Don’t skimp here as this is an awesome time to engage with your key leaders.
5) 1-on-1s (Weekly)
It’s often difficult for managers to understand how things are going, when and where employees may be struggling, and how they can help. This is your chance to fix that and have open and honest conversations around topics that are top of mind and can help a team member succeed. Most importantly, this is your chance to listen more and talk less.
6) All-Hands (Weekly)
Once a week, you should have a team-wide (‘all-hands’) meeting. This should include a combination of key team updates that need to be shared, team building, and general employee engagement. This is a great time for you, as their leader, to sit back and let the team shine.
7) Individual Goal Checks (Monthly)
The best approach to goal setting is not ‘set it and forget it’. In order to drive transparency, focus, and alignment, the goal process needs to be dynamic. Managers should check in with their team members at least once a month on how things are progressing and what they can do to support.
8) Team Goal Reviews (Quarterly)
You should plan to get the team back together at end of each quarter to review what worked, what didn’t, and how you are going to adjust as a team in the next quarter. Equally as important, use this time to celebrate any wins with the team over the last period.
9) Individual Performance Checks (Quarterly)
Discussing how things are going, what’s working or what’s not, and how an individual is performing can be a challenging and sometimes awkward conversation. But, it’s also one of the most important ones to have early and often. These are not performance reviews in the traditional sense – the goal here is to quickly identify any misalignments and underperformers that need your help to improve.
10) Surveys (Various)
In addition to everything described here, there are three other times when you want to establish a good feedback loop with your team – just after they are hired, when benchmarking progress in key areas like engagement or eNPS, and when someone is leaving your team.
Good luck and let us know if we can help you on your path to becoming an augmented manager!