As Your Team Gets Bigger, Your Leadership Style Has to Adapt - Deepstash
Managing Remotely

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Effective communication with remote employees

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Techniques for managing remote teams

Managing Remotely

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Direct To Indirect Management

Direct To Indirect Management

Direct to Indirect Management.  If your team is five people, you can develop a personal relationship with each individual where you understand the details of their work, what they are good at, and maybe even the hobbies they enjoy outside the office.

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If your team is 30 people, you can’t manage them all directly, at least not to the same degree. If you did weekly 30-minute one-on-ones with everyone, that alone would take 15 hours — nearly half of the workweek. Add in time to follow up on any action items, and you’d barely be able to do anything else. When I got to more than eight reports, I started to feel like I didn’t have enough hours in the day to support everyone well while also thinking about hiring, ensuring high-quality design work, and contributing to product strategy.

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People Treat You Like You’re Someone With Status

People Treat You Like You’re Someone With Status

People Treat You Differently.  Some years ago, when my team had grown beyond the point where I knew everybody personally, I attended a review where three designers presented their latest work. I gave them my feedback. Before we ended, I asked if there were any thoughts or questions about what I had said. Everyone shook their heads No. I left thinking that it was a good and productive meeting.

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Later in the day, I saw one of my direct reports who looked upset. “I caught up with the team and they’re not feeling good about the review this morning,” he told me. I thought he was joking. “What? Why?” “They didn’t agree with your feedback,” he said. “But why didn’t they tell me that?” I asked. My subordinate paused. “Well Julie, you’re kind of a big deal — they were intimidated.”

It was the first time I’d ever heard anyone refer to me as “kind of a big deal.” It was hard to compute. When did I become the kind of person who intimidated others? I’d always been known as approachable.

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What I learned is that it didn’t matter how I saw myself. When people don’t know you well and see that you’re in a position of authority, they’re less likely to tell you the ugly truth and challenge you when they think you’re wrong, even if you’d like them to. They might think it’s your prerogative to call the shots. They might not want to disappoint you or have you think badly of them. Or they might be trying to make your life easier by not burdening you with new problems or imposing on your time.

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<p><strong><u>Be aware of this...

Be aware of this dynamic.

  • Are your suggestions being taken as orders?
  • Are your questions coming off as judgements?
  • Are you presuming that things are rosier than they really are because you’re not hearing the full story?

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Choose What’s Most Important

The more you look after, the more likely it is that something under your purview isn’t going as well as it could be. It might be projects falling behind schedule, miscommunications that need to be cleared up, or people who aren’t getting what they need. At any given moment, I can list dozens of areas that I could be working to improve.

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The more you look after, the more likely it is that something under your purview isn’t going as well as it could be. It might be projects falling behind schedule, miscommunications that need to be cleared up, or people who aren’t getting what they need. At any given moment, I can list dozens of areas that I could be working to improve.

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But at the end of the day, you are only one individual with a limited amount of time. You can’t do everything, so you must prioritize. What are the most important topics for you to pay attention to, and where are you going to draw the line? Perfectionism is not an option. It took me a long time to get comfortable operating in a world where I had to pick and choose what mattered the most, and not let the sheer number of possibilities overwhelm me.

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People & Their Ideas Matter. Treat Them Well.

People & Their Ideas Matter. Treat Them Well.

People-Centric Skills Matter Most.  I remember hearing about a CEO who made the executives on his team switch roles every few years, like a game of musical chairs. I was skeptical. How could a sales executive be expected to know how to run an engineering organization, or a chief financial officer become a strong chief marketing officer?

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As teams grow, managers spend less time on the specific craft of their discipline. What matters more is that they can get the best out of a group of people. For example, no CEO is an expert across sales and design, engineering and communications, finance and human resources. And yet, she is tasked with building and leading an organization that does all of those things.

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At higher levels of management, the job starts to converge regardless of background. Success becomes more about mastering a few key skills: hiring exceptional leaders, building self-reliant teams, establishing a clear vision, and communicating well.

People who master those skills will be well-equipped to lead teams of any size.

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itsmeganjoy

Neurodivergent. Cat lover. I like things that make you think and all things strange & spooky. 👻

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