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How to run team check-ins like a (great) boss

Things you don’t want to miss in your next team check-in

Have you heard the saying – ‘people don’t leave their company, they leave their manager’?

The (not so) hidden impact of managers

A Gallup poll of more 1 million employed U.S. workers concluded that the No. 1 reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor. If you’ve ever held a job, you’d agree that our relationship with our manager is extremely critical to shaping our work experience.

Then what, as managers, can we do to give it our best? Like in any relationship outside of work, communication and trust are key here as well. But building a strong and trusting relationship with your team isn’t as simple as having an open-door policy. It takes guided effort, consistency, and some time to build.

When it comes to building and nurturing team relationships, one major contributing factor is how managers run their team check-ins or stand-ups.  

Running value-adding team check-ins requires a significant mindset shit. These are no longer just for project status management, but also an extremely crucial building block of both performance development and team collaboration.  

Start off with having a set rhythm to your daily / weekly team check-ins. As a leader, it is your responsibility to keep these check-ins purposeful and streamlined. No one wants to be wasting an hour on a team call they only got 5 useful minutes out of!

Next, have a strong grasp on what goals you’re gunning after, what the progress till now has been, and what you want your team to do next. It’s totally alright to be the policeman and steer the call back on course if you feel someone is getting distracted from the agenda. No one wants to be wasting an hour on a team call they only get 5 useful minutes out of!

One challenge you might face is putting a hard stop to your old habits as an individual worker. Your initial instinct might be to jump into the work alongside your team, give too many directions or even want to fix what they’ve done to reach goals on time. You’ll quickly realize that this isn’t sustainable. Ultimately, what it means to be a manager is not to micromanage but to guide a team to reach goals so they can run autonomously.

Here are some handy tips you could try in your next team check-in:

  1. Have a set rhythm or frequency and try to hold one at least every two weeks if not every week
  2. Focus on ‘what’ the deliverables are, and by ‘when’ they need to be completed. Leave the details of ‘how’ that gets done up to each person
  3. Ask, don’t tell. Encourage them to think and make decisive calls rather than follow your directions if you really want them to learn  
  4. Think ahead. Anticipate challenges, roadblocks and expectations down the line. Mould your questions accordingly
  5. Sow seeds of new ideas / ‘thought starters’ that will inspire everyone to do more individually and collectively
  6. Do a quick mindset check at the start to see if anyone’s feeling overwhelmed or could use a helping hand. To really build trust, share your own vulnerabilities first! It could be anything from a tough call with a client to a fast approaching timeline
  7. Remember that your job is isn’t just to get the job done but to help them grow by letting them test, learn and fail without fear

Lastly, don’t forget that there’s no one size fits all method to being a great manager. Just make time for your team and approach these exchanges with care, empathy, and a commitment to bettering both your team members and yourself.

Do you have any other tips or advise for managers to be better at leading teams? We’d love to hear from you. Write to us at contactus@peoplemesh.com.

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