Building a Culture of Ownership, Peer Feedback and Virtual Communities

Manager TLDR - Issue 35

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Hey fellow managers and leaders,

My name is Kamela, Fellow’s newest team member! I’m taking a run at this Manager TLDR issue, sharing the key takeaways from our latest content, plus some extra resources to level-up your management game.

If you’d like to see certain topics on the next issue, email us at blog@fellow.app

Here we go!

🆗 No, I’m not fine: A leader’s guide to building a culture where it’s ok to not be ok (9 min read) | Fellow Blog

TLDR: As a leader and a boss, it’s important to create an environment where your team can thrive and are comfortable coming to you when they are struggling, stressed or just not ok. Here are three ways you can check in with employees and build trust in your relationships: 

– Assume positive intent and instill trust in your direct reports capabilities.

– When an employee is confiding in you during a difficult time, you do not need to tell a relatable story. Just listen, understand and leave your ego at the door. 

– Know the difference between being vulnerable and using vulnerability. 

“Remember, as a leader and a boss, it’s ok for you to not be ok too. And it’s not your job to take on or solve all the problems for your employees. But it is your job to create a culture and an environment where your team can thrive – even in a time when everything might not be ‘fine.’” 


🏆How to Build a Culture of Ownership, and Other Engineering Leadership Tips from Plaid & Dropbox (19 min read) | First Round Review

TLDR: Jean-Denis Grèze, Head of Engineering at fintech startup Plaid, offers a modern playbook for engineering leadership. Grèze outlines the biggest problems engineer leaders face and lessons he’s learned. Here are our top 3 takeaways:

1. In order to move fast, have a bottom-up approach to problems. Give people the trust and ability to learn how to deal with complexity on their own. That’s how you’ll move fast as a team.

2. Humans love incentives that align with the company culture and values, such as rewarding for a specific behaviour. 

3. Share context often and early to your team in order to stay aligned. 

“The hardest part of management is to manage the times when the expectations and hopes of individuals don’t match the expectations and hopes of the company … My solution to that has always been to be very direct with people who report to me … I always put the business first in the short-term and the employee first in the long-term. ”


💬9 Tips for Effectively Sharing Peer Feedback in the Workplace (8 min read) | Fellow Blog

TLDR: Peer feedback refers to the comments and suggestions that individuals may receive from others. Building a culture of continuous feedback will help your team thrive, hit their goals and motivate others. Here are some tips on how to tell them how you really feel: 

– Avoid the feedback sandwich (putting a piece of criticism in between two “slides” of praise). 

– Chief Talent Officer at Pivot + Edge, John Fleischauer, shared his method, “In order for constructive feedback to be effective, it has to be specific, timely, and completely objective.” 

– Using feedback tools such as Fellow makes offering peer feedback seamless and timely. 

“Research shows that employees who receive consistent feedback feel more fulfilled in their jobs … When you share feedback the right way, and everyone involved has an open mind and feels supportive, all parties will walk away knowing exactly what is expected from them.”


🖥 1 Top Priority About Remote Work That Most Managers Are Forgetting

TLDR: Approaching the “anniversary” of the remote work shift, strong workplace culture should be a top priority. Here are a few tips on how to adapt best practices of creating a virtual community: 

– Host 1:1 conversations with various employees and your company’s leadership team to identify the gaps in the experiences of your team members.

– Find a way to incorporate water-cooler chats so your team can connect as people, not just employees.

– Be open to feedback throughout the process of creating a workplace culture remotely.  

“Virtual work communities don’t just happen–they take strategic and intentional effort from management teams. To build such a community, leadership must illustrate their commitment to fostering connection.”


🎙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 38: Katie Wilde (VP of Engineering at Buffer) talks about her early days at the company and her experience working in a holacracy environment (a system where there are no assigned roles).

Episode 39: Job Van der Voort (CEO at Remote.com) helps us understand the world of remote work, the benefit of working remotely and hiring internationally.


🆕 Meeting Template of the Week

Your first one-on-one meeting with an employee should be used to get to know them personally, set clear expectations, and map out a plan for their first month. Kick-off your first one-on-one meeting with a new team member using this specially-crafted template.


That’s a wrap!  We hope that the content we curated inspires you to continue growing as a leader! 🌱

 If you enjoyed this issue, please share the newsletter with a colleague or friend.

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Thanks for being part of our community,

Kamela & the Fellow.app team


P.S. If you couldn’t attend our #FellowWinterLaunch last week, make sure to watch this video to learn more about our new Organization-wide meeting templates, MS Teams Integration, Workspace Analytics section, and more! ⚡️