How to Define the Purpose of Your Meetings and Set Goals That Don’t Suck

Manager TLDR: Issue 25

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Here are this week’s hand-picked tips to help you on your journey to becoming a great leader:

📌 How to Define and Clearly State the Purpose of Your Meetings

TLDR: How many times have you left a meeting thinking “this meeting could’ve been an email?”... In order to have effective meetings, you need to start with the WHY. 

Send this article to your team if you’d like to teach them 5 effective ways to have highly-productive meetings:

  1. Communicate the intention of the meeting in the calendar invite.
  2. Prepare and send an agenda ahead of the meeting.
  3. Collaborate on meeting notes in real-time.
  4. Write clear and on-topic action items for follow up.
  5. Finish the meeting with a solid recap.

📧 Email Management: How to Hack Back and Cure Inbox Insanity

TLDR: According to Nir Eyal (time management expert and best-selling author of Indistractable), the average office-dwelling professional receives 100 messages per day. At just two minutes per email, that adds up to 3 hours and 20 minutes per day. We shouldn’t be spending that much time checking our emails! Here are four rules that can help you defuse the unhealthy magnetism of email:

  1. Reduce the number of emails you receive by scheduling office hours where you’re available to answer your colleagues’ questions.
  2. Slow down and delay delivery. For example, instead of sending an email on Friday afternoon, schedule it for Monday morning to avoid stressing out your coworkers during the weekend. 
  3. Unsubscribe from recurring emails and newsletters that no longer interest you (I hope this newsletter makes the cut 😅).
  4. Tag each email as either “Today” or “This Week”. Then, dedicate time for replying to emails you’ve tagged “Today”.

🤝 50 Insightful Employee Engagement Questions to Ask Your Team

TLDR: Employee engagement is an essential ingredient for your team’s success. As a manager, significant effort has to be made so that you can build and maintain an engaged workforce. Here are 5 (out of 50) different questions you can ask your teammates to check-in on their engagement levels:

  1. What is your favourite part about your job?
  2. Is there anything about your job that you don’t really like? 
  3. Are there any projects you’d like to work on? 
  4. Do you feel that you’re advancing / growing in your career?
  5. What’s something I should consider changing or start doing, as your manager?

🎯 Setting Goals with Your Engineers That Don’t Completely Suck

TLDR: Goal-setting needs to be a collaborative exercise between a manager and a direct report. Keeping a version-controlled document of your teammates’ accomplishments and areas of improvement, will help you identify problems, document emotional labor, and help people grow their skills with accountability. 

Danielle Leong (Senior Engineering Manager at GitHub) developed an interesting framework you can use to set and track goals with your team, even if they’re not engineers!

  1. Set up time at the beginning of each quarter to walk through your report’s goals.
  2. Set a calendar reminder to review goals once a month.
  3. Use the notes from your frequent check-ins to write their yearly performance reviews.

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