In a manager’s meeting a few weeks ago, we were talking how all the teams in our newsroom need to be awesome on Facebook and Twitter.
That’s a difficult thing to be charged with. How do we teach that? What’s our strategy? What does awesome even mean?
But there’s one small thing that every manager in that room could start doing, today. They need to get on social media too.
It’s important because their actions define the norm. Our managers aren’t going to be the awesomest Twitterers, but it’s their job to set an example — that it’s acceptable to spend an hour of your day talking with people on the Internet.
Our behavior defines what is normal
Your team will emulate your behavior. If you show up for meetings on-time, your team will do the same. If you send work emails all weekend, your team will think that’s expected of them too. If you take a coffee break every afternoon, everybody’s gonna think that coffee breaks are a-ok. If you’re a passive-aggressive motherfucker, well…
Learning and teaching is normal
If your team is 100% heads-down on the daily grind, they might be honing their skills, but they’re not growing.
- Reading: It’s a-ok to spend an hour reading stuff. Seriously. Not all work is making work — we need to get smarter too.
- Tweeting, etc.: Being active on social media is good for your teammate’s careers, and good for recruiting.
- Blogging: Blogging is an opportunity to reflect on your work. Even if I think I really understand something, I always learn something new when I write it down.
- Open-sourcing software: Making your code good enough to give away is a very productive exercise. You’ll write better code, better documentation, and, bonus, the world will be a little better off.
- Speaking: Teaching makes us smarter. Encourage your team to speak at events and teach classes. And like blogging and tweeting, it raises your team’s profile, which is good for their careers and good for recruiting.
Being a happy human is normal
- Lunch and coffee: Take a break for lunch, every day. It’s good for team cohesion, and you’ll usually end up talking about work stuff anyway. There are many problems that are best solved in a group, away from your keyboard.
- Email: Never email after-hours. You may be having a boring Saturday, but your team isn’t. And that email is almost never that important. (If you’re an insomniac, okay, write that email, but don’t sent it until Monday morning.)
- GTFO: Leave work at an appropriate time, every day. Late-nighters and working weekends are almost always avoidable. If you can’t avoid them, you’ve got a prioritization problem. (Newsrooms seem to relish this dysfunction. Fucking cut it out. There is nothing noble about treating your people like shit.)
So! What else should be normal?
Let me know and I’ll write a follow-up with your suggestions!