Since the path to be a manager is a long journey of discovery with some weeks going much better than others, taking the time to reflect on what seems to be working isn’t a bad thing.
Since many bloggers I admire devote entire posts to things there are reading or otherwise consuming, I thought I’d co-opt this idea to do a list of things that are working for me as a manager right now.
1) Real time recognition: I have used “Kudos” or “Thank you” pre-printed post its for the team as small bits of recognition as the day flies by. I also keep a box of thank you cards in my desk drawer for thank yous for people who go the extra mile, including standing in on panels.
2) Giving the gift of time (away from all that). All things considered, most employees would prefer time away from the office more than just about anything. If I can tell that there is unclaimed overtime occurring, I can acknowledge it with letting someone leave early one day.
3) Being decisive about sending people home who are sick. I work with hardworking folks and this is great and everyone wonders if they can turn a borderline day into a productive one but I am more and more confident about sending people home who arrive or become sick through the day but are staying around because it is busy. It’s always busy and we need you well.
5) Taking time out from doing the work to discuss how we do the work. For me, a trigger can be s a difficult event but it should occur after both good and bad. And by this I don’t mean annual performance reviews (see below).
6) Adopting the anti-climatic performance review. If it hasn’t been said during the year, it is in my opinion, bad faith to bring it up at year end when the assessment will stand on the appraisal and there is no time to address the problem.
7) Routinely asking the question “Did you have anything else to raise with me?”
9) Remembering that recognition should be a 360 degree affair. I have struggled with this more than I’d like because I fear being accused of sucking up to the boss or seeming insincere. That having been said, recusing ourselves from doing this isn’t on balance worth it. We miss the opportunity to give our peers and bosses upward feedback and we also miss the opportunity to learn how they do what they do.
10) Considering whether attempts to keep your delegation discussions short are really worth it. More and more I am finding that if I challenge myself to go back a few steps and make the links back to “why” we are doing something, it is easier for everyone to move things ahead.