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Manager's best tool

Your most precious resource is your own time and energy. When you spend it on your team, it helps build healthy relationships.

Your job as a manager isn't to give advice or 'save the day.'' It's to empower your reports to find the answer themselves. If you want to understand what's going on, ask. Let her lead the conversation while you listen and probe.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

When people come with specific problems or concerns during 1:1s, try and dig deeper to diagnose the root of a problem.

  • When someone is particularly stressed or tense, and they don't know why, ask them things like what part of the day these feelings are the strongest. This allows you ...

  • Identify a success metric for the meeting. Create an agenda that will allow you to meet that purpose. (The reason for this meeting is...)
  • Craft the items on your agenda.
  • Build appropriate reporting and dashboards.
  • Review relevant data beforehand. Come to ...

Ask specific but open-ended questions to enable you to see the other point of view and see all the dimensions of a problem.

  • Ask, "What's harder than it should be?" It helps you identify patterns when you talk to various people.
  • "Is there anything you'd like to a...

Before discussing performance in a 1:1 meeting, check your empathy first. You want to add value and find out how your direct report feels.

  • Does the person you're managing feel invested in your company or team goals?
  • Does he/she feel as if you've got his/her back...

The goal of an effective 1:1 is not an update from your direct report or for you to lay down some instructions. It's a conversation. It's a chance to hear about your direct reports' ideas for your product, their career goals, and possibly their opinion of their performance.

Unstructured meetings are a waste of time. In order to let the report take ownership of the meeting, prep and set the agenda. Your report will fill in part of the content. Managers owe their teams:

  • Clear and straightforward expectations.
  • Proactive, rather than reactive, perf...

Keep careful notes and actually follow up in special 1:1s. Your reports value your feedback.

Keep track of instances where your report did well, where they're lacking, or where they generally did something noteworthy. Share these things with your report in weekly 1:1s.

After a performance review, ask your report to list five to seven concrete actions they want to work on over the next six months and write them down. Check in regularly on this plan, but don't use your regular 1:1 time.

When your direct report asks for advice, ask them first what they thin...

1:1 meetings matter. It is important to nurture that essential employee-manager relationship. But it still not easy to get right.

Under pressures, managers are still juggling commitments. Then there's the issue of what to cover, and to avoid a half-hearted performance as ...

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  • Making time for an individual says you give a damn about them as a person.
  • The 1:1 is the only forum where you can have an honest, private, conversation with each other about what’s really going on.
  • This is a routine opportunity for you, as a manager, to asse...

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One on one meetings

...are held between a team leader and team member

They are conversations that usually last no longer than 10 to 30 minutes where they discuss what is going well and what needs to change. 

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Change the setting sometimes

Occasionally, go for a walk and have your 1:1. Occasionally, go get coffee. Go sit in the courtyard. Get lunch or breakfast or dinner. Most often, it’s probably easiest and most efficient to grab or schedule a room and get right into it. Every once in awhile, though, offer to change the...

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