Hey fellow managers and leaders!

In today’s newsletter, we’re covering… 

Let’s get into it!

👥 8 practical tips for managers struggling with 1-on-1s (8 min read), Fellow Blog

TLDR: While it’s clear that 1-on-1s are the best way to motivate your team, build trust, solve problems, and help your staff grow and flourish, sometimes it can feel really hard to make them enjoyable and engaging. Here are 3 (out of 8) practical tips to help you make the most of the time spent with your staff! 🌱

  1. Ask questions: One way to avoid repetitive and stale meetings is to come prepared with a few questions for your direct reports. We suggest asking about challenges and/or future growth opportunities! 
  2. Skip the work stuff: If you and your employee find your 1-on-1 agenda lacking, suggest catching up on some topics that fall outside of traditional “work” but impact work-life nonetheless. 
  3. Schedule 1-on-1s as recurring meetings: Using your calendar to permanently carve out recurring time slots for 1-on-1s is the best way to ensure they happen consistently. 

“Having effective 1-on-1s helps your team members grow and flourish in their positions, while also teaching them the necessary 1-on-1 meeting skills for when they become managers themselves. It helps you grow and develop as a manager and leader, and it helps you better understand how to manage multiple work styles and personalities. Finally, it helps your employees be more efficient and effective thereby positively impacting the company overall. Win-win-win!” 

🏢 Help your employees who are anxious about returning to the office (10 min read), Harvard Business Review

TLDR: As vaccines roll out across the globe, more and more offices are opening up or making plans to re-open in the near future. That’s good news for people who are eager to get back to their desks… but, the truth is… some of your employees might be feeling anxious about returning to in-person work! What should you do? 

  1. Find out how people are feeling: Run a survey (anonymously, if necessary) to find out how people are feeling about returning to the office so you can respond directly to their concerns.
  2. Offer flexibility, if possible: At least at the beginning of your office’s reopening, give people some options about when and how often they come in. 
  3. Explain the why: Communicate the vision so employees see it as reasonable and can get out on board. If they don’t buy in, it’s going to feel like coercion. What is in it for the employees? Will they strengthen their relationships with their coworkers? Make sure to explain the benefits of going back… and above all, remember to always be compassionate. 

“One of the small silver linings of the pandemic is that it’s become more acceptable — in many places — to talk about mental health at work. Just because many of us are going back to the office shouldn’t mean that the conversation and compassion around this topic should stop. As a manager, it’s important to remember that you may not know or appreciate the full picture of what your employees have been through or continue to go through. Keep that in mind when helping your employees make their way back into the office.” 

🤔 10 of the most effective group decision-making techniques (7 min read), Fellow Blog

TLDR: As leaders, there are many decisions that we can make on our own but often, engaging the opinions and perspectives of others enhances the decision that is made. Fellow has outlined 10 group decision-making techniques that will help you reach a final decision, even with a large number of group members. Here are the top 3 examples: 

  1. Delphi method: Take the ideas generated by your team and break them down into a smaller list of possible approaches. Those fewer options are then taken back to the group for further discussion and collective consideration.
  2. Weighted scoring: Each item is evaluated against criteria such as the business value, costs, risks, and adoption. Each of these criteria is assigned a score based on the weighting (impact) of them. After weighing each idea, you can tally up the scores to make an informed team decision. 
  3. Decision trees: Decision trees are highly visual and operate as a type of non-linear mind map so that you can predict how certain approaches to a situation may turn out. 

“The group decision-making process doesn’t need to be time-consuming nor exhaustive- it’s all about choosing the right approach for the specific situation and an approach that fits well with your team culture. You can engage decision-making groups when an outcome will affect your entire team so that everyone’s opinion is considered and everyone’s views on the matter are valued so that you can come to a final decision together.” 

People who brag about being in back-to-back meetings deeply misunderstand productivity (5 min read), Curious

TLDR: We’ve all met people who brag about how busy they are. (And being completely honest… it’s something we’ve probably done ourselves as well!) In this post, Tim Denning argues that bragging about being busy is a disease that covers up the real problem: a poor understanding of productivity. Here are three takeaways that stood out to us from this piece:

  1. A back-to-back calendar uncovers a leader who is lost: People with time on their calendar solve the real problems, have time to think, and inspire others.
  2. You don’t need to attend every meeting: Instead, ask your direct reports to attend. Use meetings as a way to train future leaders and to expose them to new ideas.
  3. You need time for problem-solving and thinking: If you want to help your team move forward and succeed, it’s essential that you make time to think creatively. In fact, Kyle Lacy suggests that first-line managers spend 20% of their time thinking 6 months ahead!

“Busy is covering up for a deeper problem. Busy is insecurity. Busy is a fear of facing the truth. I became busy when my health spiraled out of control. Being busy in meetings helped me to block out the noise in my head that made it feel like I couldn’t trust gravity to keep me on solid ground.” 

Bonus article 👀

Our friends at 360Learning wrote a great piece on why classic management training is failing your employees.

TLDR: Managers are an essential part of your organization—yet they rarely get the support they need, even in extra challenging times. Consider the following ways to support them:

  • Make management training asynchronous, yet interactive!
  • Offer one-to-one management coaching.
  • Outline expected behaviours and company values clearly.

🗓 Meeting Template of the Week

🗒 19 meeting agenda examples

Instead of featuring one meeting template of the week, we’re featuring 19 different meeting template ideas today! Prepare for your meetings ahead of time and execute them with confidence with these expert-approved templates 👇

🎙 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 55: Danielle Leong, Director of Engineering at Github, shares how we can improve our emotional intelligence and make it as easy as possible for our teams to express their opinions.

Episode 56: Chetana Deorah, Director of Product Design at Coursera, explains how to become a better storyteller and how to create empathy with cross-functional teams.

Episode 57: Kyle Lacy, Chief Marketing Officer at Lessonly, discusses servant leadership and the difference between job growth and career growth.

… 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