Today, I want to share with you the simple, research-backed rule of being an awesome manager. It’s the 80/20. The rule is this:
Talk to your team. A LOT.
Forget about everything else. Just talk more. Have more frequent 1-on-1s. Go to lunch together. Grab them after a meeting and chat about how it went. Everything else will just magically fall into place.
- Both of you will naturally start to open up. You will be more honest and direct with each other.
- Both of you will start trusting each other. That makes constructive criticism way more likely to work.
- Both of you will show more appreciation for each other. You’ll probably still miss 90% of the things that went awesome, but at least you’ll high-five over the 10%.
I’m not alone in saying this. It’s an emerging trend.
Deloitte got it right:
Very frequent check-ins (we might say radically frequent check-ins) are a team leader’s killer app.
Give feedback frequently and directly. As a manager, it’s easier to wait and then hedge critical feedback in soft wrappers, but that’s selfish. I’d try to give feedback as soon as I could grab a conference room with the person, and not wait until the formal 1:1 days later.
And Gallup lends fuel to the fire too (correlational, but still):
…employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not hold regular meetings with them.
Prompt, frequent feedback works.
You can start doing this today. But maybe you’re saying:
The beauty of giving frequent feedback is you need minimal preparation. You don’t have to dig through your email to find what you need to talk about. You don’t have to organize everything. What you want to talk about is right there in your working memory (though it is really helpful to jot down some notes throughout the week for your 1-on-1s).
It’s quick. It’s easy.
- It’s a 5-minute retrospective immediately after a meeting.
- It’s a 15-minute 1-on-1 once a week.
- It’s grabbing some lunch together (you gotta eat anyway right?)
You can make sometime to make this happen. Your team, your company culture, and your bottom line will thank you for it.