Career Stagnation, Hybrid Work, and Shifting to Become A Star Manager

Manager TLDR - Issue 42

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Hey fellow managers and leaders 👋

Before diving into today’s content, we want to share an exciting announcement with you! On June 23rd, our team will host a ✨special event✨ to reveal the new and improved features in Fellow 3.0

TLDR: We built a new set of (game-changing) features to improve your meeting productivity. As part of this special occasion, Aydin Mirzaee (CEO at Fellow) will answer your questions during a live Q&A!


Now, back to the usual programming. In today’s newsletter, we’re covering… 

Let’s get into it.


💪5 Tips to Overcome Career Stagnation (5 min read), Samantha Rae Ayoub

TLDR: You’ve worked so hard to get to where you are in your career, but instead of being filled with excitement, lately you’re brimming with boredom. That sense of having peaked can also be described as mid-career malaise. The good news: there are proven ways to pick yourself up out of this professional rut and get your career back into an upswing. Here are our top 3 (out of 5) tips:

  1. Set a series of micro-goals: Maybe you want to read up on a particular topic or learn a new skill. Whatever it is, imagine these micro-goals are the breadcrumbs leading you to a new exciting future – even though that future might still be murky. 
  2. Surround yourself with inspiring people: When you surround yourself with people who have positive, “go-get ‘em” attitudes, their energy is contagious and will serve to energize and inspire you. 
  3. Look for a new opportunity (not just a new job): New opportunities don’t always mean getting an entirely new job. If there’s something you’re passionate about but not yet ready to make it your full-time gig, try it out as a side hustle first, have a bit of fun, and get that energy and inspiration back.   

“When it comes to career stagnation, everyone is different and every situation is unique. Figuring out how to dig yourself out of that professional rut may indeed take some time and a lot of effort. But whatever you do, don’t give up. Keep moving forward, keep growing, ask for help if you need it, and keep searching for opportunities and work that bring you excitement and joy.” 


🔁Rethinking Your Operating Cadence (30 min read), Reforge

TLDR: Every team needs an operating system to fuel company growth. This system is made up of rituals, which individually, should contribute to one of these 5 goals: (1) Accelerating velocity in decision-making, (2) Sharing and emphasizing learnings, (3) Connecting actions to outcomes, (4) Executing upon the evolving strategy, or (5) Fostering personal growth. Here are three examples of operating rituals you can implement with your team:

  1. Planning Cycles: Planning Cycles allow for almost everyone at an organization to zoom out to understand the larger strategy behind their work. This is the only ritual that should be done on a quarterly cadence.

“If teams meet for the sake of it, those meetings need to be cut since they aren’t solving for anything. Instead, teams need to operate in a way that fortifies company growth by accelerating velocity, emphasizing learnings, connecting actions to outcomes, evolving strategy, or focusing on personal growth.”

– Elena Verna (EIR at Reforge, Growth Advisor at Miro, Netlify, MongoDB)

🏠Adapting to Hybrid Work: Best Practices and Embracing Change (6 min read), Kamela Nizio

TLDR: The best hybrid teams allow employees to decide where they work best and set them up for success in those environments. For some, that’s a central office. For many others, it might be a home office, a mobile workspace, or some combination during the week. We invited a panel of leaders to share how they are embracing hybrid work. Here are our top 3 takeaways:

  1. Be clear about the WHY: “It’s important for everyone on a team, not just managers, to be on board with why the company supports hybrid work. This builds empathy for those who need it, and helps everyone understand the underlying goal.”
  2. Create strong onboarding processes: “Set clear expectations and get new team members integrated right away – no matter where they sit. Invest in people who are solid communicators, organizers, and all-around team players.”
  3. Run inclusive meetings: “Make sure whiteboards are virtual if collaborating or fully visible to virtual participants if presented. Don’t have side or follow-up conversations during or after the meeting without documenting in the meeting notes!”

“Start by doing a lot of listening to the broader company and the people on your team. Ask them what their needs are, what they want, and how they see the future and any challenges. Ask early and often, over calls and in surveys too. Be human-first.” 

– Alexandra Sunderland, Engineering Manager at Fellow.app

🌟Shifting from Star Performer to Star Manager (7 min read), Harvard Business Review

TLDR: The late, great scholar David McClelland studied three human needs, or motivators that are profoundly important when it comes to managing people: the need for achievement, the need for power, and the need for affiliation. He points out that these motivators can serve us well in our work and interactions with people. But, if we don’t understand and manage these needs, they can backfire. Let’s look at each motivator in turn:

  1. Need for achievement: The right way to use your achievement drive is to bring it out to help others find and achieve challenging goals. You must learn to step out of the spotlight and shine a light on others’ accomplishments.
  2. Need for affiliation: Learning to be warm and authentic with people who report to you will serve you for the rest of your life. But don’t pretend to be friends with your direct reports. Now is the time to look around, not up or down. Seek out your peers for friendship.
  3. Need for power: If you’re a manager, you do in fact need to have influence over others. You can, however, channel your need for power toward the betterment of others — this is socialized power. It allows you to satisfy your very human need to have, and be seen to have, influence while also doing good for people and your company. 

“There’s a lot to learn when star performers like you take that first big management job. And the most important learning has little to do with the technical aspects of the job, and a lot to do with you as a person. Most of us don’t think too much about what motivates us to behave as we do, but learning to use your emotional intelligence to understand why you act the way you do is a first and often missed step in becoming an excellent manager — and a great leader.” 


🗓 Meeting Template of the Week

You don’t have to start from scratch. We’ve distilled everything you need to know about meetings into ready-to-use templates.

Tuan Nguyen’s Weekly Astronaut Meeting (WAM)

Get an ‘outer space’ high-level overview of the company and its operations with this fun WAM template.


🎙 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 51: Daniel Saks, President and Co-CEO of AppDirect, discusses growth, graduating from your role, and shares how to build manageable habits.

Episode 52: Pat Kua, Founder of Tech Lead Academy, talks about sustaining your role and the difference between managing things and leading people.


… 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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