5 Ways We Turn Good Hires Into A Great Team
A few weeks ago, I was stunned to learn that through nominations and support from my current and past colleagues, I had been named Tech in Motion's 2015 Best Technology Manager in San Francisco.
Once the shock wore off, I had time to take a step back and think about my five year career as a manager in Tech. I realized that a few key themes have driven my "management approach" both explicitly and subconsciously.
Since I'm running GoodHire, a business that helps other organizations "build great teams," I might as well share some of my most effective practices with young managers in Silicon Valley and beyond. My philosophy can be boiled down to these five tips:
1. Clear a path.
No matter whether your organization is big or small, there will always be roadblocks. Sometimes, the block comes in the form of a difficult customer or partner who holds up a sale or deal. Most often, however, roadblocks are internal to an organization. Many companies strive to reduce internal politics (or even claim they've "eliminated" it), but that's rarely possible. Circumventing these roadblocks is often difficult, especially for newer or less experienced employees who may not have the relationships or understanding of the organization necessary to do so. I've found that a quick hallway conversation or email to another team leader or exec can work wonders in clearing up confusion and frustration.
2. Get out of the way.
As a manager, once you've made the path to success clear, step aside and let others continue to carry the torch and lead the way. The only way for young workers to develop confidence in themselves and their work is to let them take ultimate responsibility. While it may be easier to take a step back and let the manager lead the way, it will hinder the progression of your team. It's a manager's job to support personal growth.
3. Provide some slack.
I've always loathed the concept of "micro managers." I believe the practice instills a culture of fear and stunts employees' growth. There is a difference, however, between controlling everything your employees do and having no oversight whatsoever. My approach has always been to try to establish a clear problem definition, a set of goals, and an understanding of responsibility for a given position or project. Then I let the employee develop a strategy to attack the work. From there, I'll check back in on a regular basis to answer questions and review progress, but the overall goal is to allow some wiggle room to get the job done in the best way for the employee.
4. Provide timely feedback.
When you give your team some slack to operate, inevitably mistakes will be made or areas for improvement identified. I've found that delivering feedback about an team member's performance as quickly as possible is key to that person's growth. While sometimes this feedback can be hard to receive, particularly immediately after a serious mishap, it's still vital to communicate immediately. The longer you wait, the more difficulty you'll have in capturing accurate messaging and details. No one's memory is perfect.
5. Be a cheerleader.
At the end of the day, the most important quality of a successful manager is consistently showing positive support for the team. This support can come in many forms, whether it's an email to the company, a public shout-out at a team meeting, or when the employee is out of the room and you're helping to bubble up all the contributions the person makes that may go unnoticed.
That's my perspective. How do you go about building great teams?