Digital Communication Styles, Psychological Safety, and Career Conversations

Manager TLDR - Issue 46

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Hey fellow managers and leaders!

In today’s newsletter, we’re covering… 

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💻 How is your digital communication style impacting your employees? (7 min read), Fellow Blog

TLDR: It should not come as a surprise that managers play a huge role in the overall happiness and wellbeing of employees. How a manager communicates can have a tremendous impact on how an employee feels about their job and their contributions at work. Here are 3 (out of 5) tips to help improve your digital communication as a manager:

  1. Put yourself in their shoes: Before sending any form of digital communication pause for a moment and ask yourself some questions. How will this message be received? Am I being as clear as I can be? 
  2. Mind the punctuation: There is a big difference between your boss sending you “Great.” and “Great!” Choose wisely, and by wisely, we mean choose the second one.
  3. Always respond: There’s not much that’s worse than sending your boss a thoughtfully worded email or direct message to hear nothing but crickets in return. It is important to always, always respond to your employees

“When you communicate well, your team understands your vision, your expectations, and the context in which their work is taking place. This, in turn, increases psychological safety within the team, making it more comfortable for team members to speak up and share ideas (or even disagree with ideas!)” 


🤝 Fostering a Culture of Belonging in the Hybrid Workplace (8 min read), Harvard Business Review

TLDR: Organizations need to create belonging in their employees, and modern managers need to give meaning and purpose if they wish to retain their top talent. Here are 3 major challenges organizations face when trying to create belonging in a hybrid office:

  1. Balancing a strong culture with having everyone feel that they belong: A culture that tries to be everything to everyone could easily become interesting to very few. 
  2. Staying social in a hybrid environment: The real reason people will go back to the office is a mixture of 50% social pleasure and 50% social pressure. We want to see people, and we don’t want them not to see us. 
  3. Culture needs to evolve: As we return to normalcy, organizations need to figure out how to create a sense of belonging and community within organizations where fear, anger, and depression are being replaced by choice, flexibility, and freedom.

“No matter what approach you choose, it is always important to make it explicit, to ensure that people understand your rationale, and to have the humility and data-informed mindset to evaluate what works, and what doesn’t, and to be ready to adjust accordingly.”


🧠 What is psychological safety? FAQ with Management Experts (5 min read), Fellow Blog

TLDR: A study conducted by Google’s People Operations set out to answer this question: What makes our team effective? After two years of research with 200+ interviews amongst Google team members, the study revealed that the highest-performing teams have one thing in common: psychological safety. Try these tips to promote psychological safety at work: 

  1. Learn how to handle (and encourage) opposing views. Not every team member is likely to see eye-to-eye. And these differences are what create conversation.
  2. Engage human to human (not boss to employee). Foster trust in your relationships by engaging with your employees as a human, not as their superior. 
  3. Offer constructive feedback. There is a fine line between constructive criticism and negative criticism. 

“Design employment around individuals, not institutions. When you practice empathy, and design employment around an individual’s skills, desires, passions you will not only create a path for a happier employee, you are also helping them contribute more.”


🥵 There’s No “i” In Burnout: Why you should pay attention to what employees are saying (6 min read), Financial Post

TLDR: We’ve heard the term ‘burnout’ a lot lately. When someone says they are burned out, they are flagging their capacity. Seasoned leaders know execs often struggle to hear that a team is approaching functional limits in what they can accomplish. Here are some things to note about burnout: 

  1. Keeping the broader system: It’s easy to put the blame of burnout on the individual, thinking they aren’t cut out for their work. Burnout is a collective problem that we’re treating with individual tools. And that’s why it’s not getting better.
  2. Changing operations: What does it mean to think about burnout as an organizational problem? What would you do if the people saying that they’re burnt out were actually saying, “This is a company that burns people out.”
  3. Do the right thing (not the most profitable): A pizza joint in Oregon closed for the day due to unbearable heat. They could have made a lot of money that say but instead, they offered a day off to their employees because it was the right (and healthy) thing to do.

“As an executive, it’s easy to look at this pyramid scheme of burnout and shrug. You want people to work hard. And when someone on your team says they’re burning out, it’s a little bit tempting, in your inside voice, to feel like you’ve identified a person who can’t cut it.”


🗓 Meeting Template of the Week

Russ Laraway’s Career Conversation Template

Follow this 3-step career conversation framework curated by Russ Laraway, Employee Experience Evangelist at Qualtrics and former executive at Twitter and Google.


🎙 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 60 : JP Chauvet (President of Lightspeed) explains the importance of tying in workplace culture with outcomes to create high-performing teams.

Episode 61: Ryan Bonnici (CMO at Whereby)shares why managers should show and tell their teams what their expectations are and how to balance relationships with results.


… 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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