Advice for First Time Managers, Meeting Roles to Assign, and Ladder of Ownership

Manager TLDR - Issue 49

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Hey fellow managers and leaders 😁

In today’s newsletter, we’re covering… 


✍️Advice for First Time Managers: 10 Tips to Lead Successfully and Exceed Expectations (9 min read), Fellow Blog

TLDR: Setting clear expectations, managing your time effectively, and learning how to share and receive feedback are all important skills to learn as a leader – especially if you’re managing a team for the first time! After months of interviewing experienced leaders for the Supermanagers podcast, the Fellow team compiled a list of essential tips for first-time managers. Here are 3 (out of 10) of them:

  1. Think like an athlete: Athletes spend a lot of time practicing and developing new skills – and their mind is open to that. According to Michael Litt (CEO at Vidyard), the key to becoming a Supermanager is to adopt this growth mindset. 
  2. Design systems and processes: More than simply managing people in your new leadership role, you’re also managing the environment in which they work. Make sure to focus on managing and improving those systems.
  3. Acknowledge the transition to invisible output: Your output as a manager is less visible than your output as an individual contributor. As Hareem Mannan (Senior Director of Design at Twilio) mentions, you must get used to the idea that your output will often feel invisible – and that’s ok, as long as the team as a whole is making progress.

“I remember being so confused about where my time would go… But then I’d look at my tangible output for the week and be like WTH? What did I do exactly? … Suddenly though, I had to get used to the idea that my output would not just be different in this new role — it would often be invisible.”


🪜 The ladder of ownership (2 min read), Julie Zhuo

TLDR: This post by Julie Zhuo explains the 7 levels of the ladder of ownership. It’s a great reminder to avoid gossiping and complaining about the things that happen at work and instead, become owners of every process and meeting that we are a part of. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to encourage your teammates to become drivers and owners of your team meetings. The goal is to get everyone to level 7. Here’s what levels 5, 6, and 7 look like in practice:

  1. Collaborating (level 5): You hate to see wasted time in meetings so you email some suggestions to the organizer. For instance, you suggest doing updates via email and summarizing next steps in the last 5 minutes.
  2. Driving (level 6): You attend another meeting and it’s starting to veer off course. Except now, you help steer it back by saying things such as “most of us have the overall context, and we’re eager to get into Topic X since there are many views. Let’s get into that?”
  3. Owning (level 7): You volunteer to help the organizer plan and run the meetings. You gather suggestions from the team. You iterate. Over time, it becomes amazing.

“It takes 3 ingredients to keep leveling up the Ladder of Ownership 1) Confidence – that your opinions are good/useful 2) A mindset of agency – that you can create the change you want to see 3) An empowering environment – where good, bottoms-up ideas and action are rewarded.”


8 Meeting Roles You Can Assign to Inspire Delightful Meetings (5 min read), Fellow Blog

TLDR: Nothing is worse than attending an unorganized meeting. When nobody knows what they are responsible for, it results in meetings beginning and ending late, everyone talking over each other, and nothing gets recorded. At Fellow, we’ve come up with 8 different meeting roles that you can assign and rotate to make meetings an effective use of time for everyone involved! Here are 3 (out of 8) examples:

  1. Host: The host of the meeting (who isn’t necessarily the organizer!) is responsible for keeping the meeting on track and ensuring that it is executed promptly. This is achieved by ensuring that the meeting agenda is followed. 
  2. Note-taker: The note-taker role (which should be be rotated) involves taking meeting notes on decisions made, tasks assigned, due dates, next steps, and anything else that one would need to retrieve at a later date. 
  3. Informed participants: Not everyone has to attend the meeting in real time. The role of the informed participants is to review the meeting notes after the meeting ends. Again, if they have any questions and/or comments, they should contact the meeting host.

“To inspire productive and delightful meetings, it’s important to delegate meeting roles. These roles should also be rotated, giving each person an opportunity to try out each role. This will encourage participation from all your team members and keep meetings less repetitive for those involved.”


💡 Underrated qualities to look for in candidates (33 min read), First Round Review

TLDR: If you’re a hiring manager, this is the perfect time to check-in and rededicate yourself to running an even better process, whether that’s by doubling down on your existing approach or trying out new hiring tactics that break the mold. In particular, there’s an opportunity to reconsider the very qualities you’re hunting for. If you’re looking to shake up your hiring process and bring a fresh eye to your conversations with candidates, you might want to figure out if they do these 3 things:

– Embrace change and exhibit adaptability: The shift to remote work — and the emotional upheaval that’s accompanied it has been a defining theme over the last year. To spot those with an aptitude for adaptable learning, ask questions such as: 

What current trends are you seeing in your profession?

What new things have you tried recently?

– Look for ways to improve processes: Good process is like a traffic light. It may slow down the commute for a single driver, but it optimizes the system for everyone on the road. To surface strong experimenters and unblockers, ask questions such as:

Describe a bad system at your last company. What did you do about it?

How do you get a sense of what’s working and not working?

– Apply a long-term lens: Ideal candidates are clearly passionate about the industry, company or project. In particular, keep your eyes peeled for long-term thinking, which indicates commitment to the industry or type of product. Here are some more concrete examples of responses to look out for:
I’ve always wanted to work in X industry.

I have been using product X for a while, and I really like feature Y. 


[Bonus]  23 Questions to measure meeting effectiveness

Tracking the efficacy of your meetings can help you measure and reassure that you’re accomplishing your intended goals. By asking these meeting effectiveness survey questions, you can best measure outcomes and make adjustments to improve future team meetings.


📌 [Free Template] One-on-one meeting with your manager

Some managers don’t set a formal agenda, but since YOU (the direct report) own this meeting, it’s your responsibility to make sure that nothing is left out. Having a good one-on-one meeting agenda is how you make sure you cover the right topics.

Keith Tatley one on one template preview

🎙 New on the Supermanagers podcast

We interview leaders from all walks of life to tease out the habits, thought patterns, and experiences that help them be extraordinary at the fine craft of management.

Episode 66: Kathy Klotz-Guest (founder of Keeping It Human) helps you realize whether or not you are nurturing innovation or if you are sending “shut up” signals.

Episode 67: Gary Rogers (America’s Leading Public Speaking Skills Coach) breaks down how to be a great public speaker and why it is such a common fear for humans and how to overcome it.


… and that’s a wrap!  We hope that the content we curated inspires you to continue growing as a leader!

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Thanks for being part of our community,

Manuela & the Fellow.app team

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