Career Development, Organizing Digital Workspaces, and Breaking the Ice

Manager TLDR - Issue 48

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Hey fellow managers and leaders 😁

In today’s newsletter, we’re covering… 


✍️ Career development for leaders: 6 tips for personal and professional growth (6 min read), Fellow Blog

TLDR: Being a manager means you are constantly helping people on your team grow professionally. However, the best leaders not only develop their teams. They also develop themselves. Here are 3 (out of 6) expert tips from our ManagerChats panelists on how you can continue growing as a leader:

  1. Make time for learning: Stewart Hillhouse (Senior Content Lead at Demand Curve) recommends scheduling time to be curious. He says that every Saturday morning he schedules time to learn and take notes on things he can apply to his day-to-day work. 
  2. Surround yourself with honest mentors: Zain Kahn (VP of Marketing at CareGuide) said that mentors are important because they give you direct feedback. “You need someone who’s going to give you no BS feedback on how you can improve.”
  3. Develop self-awareness and address weaknesses: Vicente Plata (Tech Lead at Shopify) recommends reflecting at the end of each month on which goals you failed to achieve and why you failed to achieve them. This will help you see what you can do to improve next month – for example, learn to prioritize better. 

“Hold yourself accountable. As you compare your weekly/monthly goals vs. actual achievements, you’ll probably notice trends. It’d be interesting to distinguish whether they’re caused by external factors, limiting beliefs, lack of practice, or a mix.”


💭 Rethinking the systems and tools that run the company (26 min read), First Round Review

TLDR: This interview with Colleen McCreary (Chief People Officer at CreditKarma) outlines some of the most common mistakes she sees amongst leaders. Here are 3 of those mistakes and ways for you to address them:

  1. Not tailoring recognition to your specific culture: When it comes to rewards and recognition, you need to ask, “What are our values? How do we live them out?” How do people want to be recognized? Is that coffee with the CEO? Is that a party?” You have to figure out what those different pieces are so people can understand it when they come together.
  2. Not talking about the hard stuff: Leaders need to normalize what’s going on in the company. Not talking about the problems that are going on and just letting things fester is a huge issue. If you’re not talking about the things that aren’t going well, you’re really setting yourself up for pain for the long-run.
  3. Not reframing career growth properly: Career growth is one of those terms that people throw around and there’s not really a definition. And so part of what you have to do for your employees at all levels is give them a framework for what career growth even means.

“We’ve built out job architectures, which we call a job framework because we don’t want it to be a ladder where people feel like they have to go directly up,” says McCreary. “Instead you want people to feel like they can maybe take a path somewhere else or do something else, and that would still be career growth.”


💻 Digital space organization: 5 easy tactics to implement (5 min read), Fellow Blog

TLDR: When your digital space is organized, you see things clearly and procrastinate less. In an era where most of us get work done from our computers, having a clean digital space in place is as important as keeping an organized physical environment. Here are 3 (out of 5) tips for better digital space organization:

  1. Use the tree structure method: All your files should be inside folders, which means you should begin by creating all the necessary folders for your digital space organization. 
  2. Download files without disorganizing your desktop: The folder that gets out of control the fastest is the “Download” folder. A couple of weeks is enough to make it look like a horror movie. Instead of making it the default folder when downloading a file, you can enable the option that says, “ask where to save each file before downloading.” 
  3. Save articles without cluttering your tabs: Instead of leaving a million tabs open in your browser, create a private stream in Fellow to save a list of articles and other resources in an organized manner!

“The feeling of accomplishment that comes with having your digital space organized has several positive consequences in your life. After all, and as Benjamin Franklin put it: For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”


💡 How Gong built a performance management approach to attract, motivate, and reward ambitious people (5 min read), 360Learning

TLDR: According to Ryan Giordano (Senior Learning and Development Manager at Gong), one of the biggest challenges at the company has been finding a new way to make performance management less scary. Here are 3 ways to build a performance management approach that motivates your team:

  1. Set people up with the right resources: Build an authentic plan, and communicate effectively. This means giving people a heads-up about what to expect, and letting people know what happens at the end, including details around raises and promotions.
  2. Prompt employees to self-reflect: This is a written process, and it focuses on three or four questions. “You want people to focus on their own perspective on how they’re performing, before they actually come together to read each other’s assessments,” says Giordano.
  3. Have an honest conversation: “The sets of questions are similar: how do you think you’re doing, where do you think you could improve, and where do you see yourself growing? They’re meant to instigate really valuable conversations,” says Giordano. According to Ryan, these questions are all designed to achieve one thing: opening up a dialogue. 

“We’ve seen people using these conversations to plan for the future. So, if you say you want to grow in a certain area, you can talk to your manager about how you want to do that. It helps people to be really clear.”


[Bonus]  100+ Questions to break the ice at work

Never suffer from awkward silences or small talk again! Check out these team-building questions that the Fellow.app team curated to break the ice and get to know your team better.


🗓 Meeting Template of the Week

📌 Fellow’s Townhall Meeting Template

We’re giving you a sneak peek at our company culture! This is the template that our CEO, Aydin Mirzaee uses every Friday at our company-wide meetings. And while you’re reading this…go follow Aydin on Twitter!


🎙 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 64: Eli Fathi (Chairman of the Board at MindBridge) explains the difference between leading with carrots versus leading with sticks and why leaders should eat last.

Episode 65: Dave Bailey (Coach to Startup CEOs) tells us why staying curious longer can get you to the root of the real issue and why questions are a powerful tool.


… 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

Your team will thank you.

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