Sunday Reads #93: How to manage your team LIKE A BOSS (even while working remote)

May 31, 2020 8:31 am

Hope you and yours are keeping safe.


This week, instead of the usual fare, a longer article from the blog. It's one I've been working on for a while, and finally finished it this weekend.


Managing a team is not intuitive, even in the best of times. And now, it's even more difficult, with the uncertainty in the environment.


Over several years of managing teams big and small, I've realized that effective team management can be distilled into five key principles.


Everything you’d read in an “Ultimate List of 100 Team Management Tips” derives from these core axioms.


And these principles apply whether your team is with you in-person or working remote. They apply even if you don't directly manage a team, but collaborate with other cross-functional teams.


It's a longish article (3500 words), but it's actionable all through. And there's a cheatsheet at the end that you can download.


Hope you like it! And if you think a friend or colleague would benefit from reading it, please forward it to them 😊.



1. How to manage your team LIKE A BOSS (even while working remote).

image


This would be amusing if it weren’t true.


I’ve been managing teams for most of my working life. For the first 7 years, it was simpler – working with a direct team and maximizing our output.


Then it got harder. As I first built my own company, and then focused on business development for other companies, it was no longer about just my team.


Instead, it was more about influencing other teams. Work with Marketing to plan the launch of a big partnership. Brainstorm with Product on the UX for the new solution. Burn the midnight oil with Engineering, to get the integration out by morning.


First reflection from all this – it’s not easy! (duh).

Leading your team requires answering a few questions, that are not straightforward. These are some of the questions I’ve had to grapple with over time:


  • I’m a doer, but now I have to “manage” a team. Where should I begin?
  • How can I make sure my team’s output is good enough, without micro-managing?
  • I have a great team, but how do I get a solid day’s work out of them?
  • I don’t have a team of my own, but I have to work with several different teams. No power, only responsibility 😰. How do I drive output?
  • How’s my team feeling? Are they happy with my leadership?
  • Wait, what is my value-add as a manager?


These questions have become even more relevant now. Traditional face-to-face management is a relic of the fast-receding past. We now need to manage our teams remotely. And we need to remain effective, without micro-managing.


Second reflection: I realized that effective team management can be distilled into a few key principles.

Five to be exact.


Everything you’d read in an “Ultimate List of 100 Team Management Tips” derives from these core axioms.


Call them the Minimum Effective Dose, or the 80:20 of Team management.


And whether your team is with you in-person or working remote, doesn’t matter. The same principles apply.


Here they are, in order (TL:DR):

  1. Don’t make 100 decisions when one will do.
  2. Train your team, and give better feedback. Even when you don’t have the time. Especially when you don’t have the time.
  3. Delegate better.
  4. Fix things early. Run to fires before they start. And then prevent the next fire.
  5. Do better meetings (this one’s harder than it sounds).


Let’s go into each of these.


But first, let’s talk about the Manager’s Equation.


Read on.



2. And on a lighter note...

Lots of worrying news this week from across the globe. So I'm sharing something that made me feel a little positive.


Lord of the Flies was an iconic book of the 20th Century, written in the bleak aftermath of World War II. The plot loosely goes as follows:

A few schoolboys get stranded on an island. What starts as an adventure soon spirals into chaos. As order collapses, the boys form clans and fight each other. It soon descends into Battle Royale-style violence.


Many readers see the story as a metaphor for humankind and our obsession with power and dominance.


So what made me feel positive? This tweet did:

image


So let's change the metaphor. Let's work together (we'll need to!) to rebuild in the new normal.



That's it for this week! Hope you liked my article. Drop me a line (just hit reply or click on the "Leave a comment" button) and let me know what you think.


Jitha

Comments