Helping Managers Become Great

One of our goals here at Small Improvements is to help managers become better managers. In an effort to do so, we’re setting out to learn from our customers and peers. Through conversations, panel sessions and questionnaires, we’re learning and crafting guidance materials to share our findings.

As part of this endeavor, we’re rolling out a roadshow series to bring the community together and exchange ideas. We hosted our first panel session last week at Maxwell Health in Boston. Sessions in New York and San Francisco are next. If you’d like to contribute, please share your experiences here, we’d love to hear from you!

IMG_2944First Panel Session Recap

Our Boston panel session brought together a mix of experienced managers and HR leaders to debate on how to help managers become great. The small crowd setting served as a perfect medium for roundtable conversation and questions. Below you can read some snippets, or listen to the full session recording

Put Philosophy First, Tool Second

The organization’s philosophy around manager and employee expectations needs to be defined and ingrained throughout company culture. Conduct exercises to learn what matters in your organization and clearly communicate these insights. Once your philosophy is defined, it becomes much easier to find the tools that support this philosophy and help to keep managers on track.

IMG_2963Make One-on-One Meetings Non-Negotiable

Jeremy Ames, President of Hive Tech HR, emphasized how things can get hectic and teams can be short staffed, but that one-on-one meetings must become a priority. A standard should be set throughout the company to have ongoing developmental conversations with employees and regular check-ins. 

Help Managers with a One-on-One Meeting Agenda

One-on-one meetings should be employee-centric and follow a clear agenda. Molly Howard, from Ovuline, said she provides employees and managers with a one-on-one worksheet, providing set questions and goals for every meeting. Each employee from the CEO down participates to show the importance and stress accountability.

IMG_2954Feedback Context is Key

Constructive feedback should be very specific, tied to an outcome that you’re hoping to achieve, timely and accompanied by context. Buildium’s Jane Jaxon advised managers to, “give employees the opportunity to step back and think about what they would’ve done differently, prior to giving direct advice.”

Every Person is Different 

Each employee is unique and will require a different level or style of direction. John Carmichael from WeSpire explained how they incorporate personality typing into the initial onboarding of new managers. This allows managers to understand individual personality types and develops a greater foundation for ongoing conversations.  

Not Everyone is a Manager

Managing is not for everybody. Being an incredible individual contributor does not mean that you’ll be a great manager. It’s always a choice and employees should feel comfortable that there’s a place for them to grow within the organization, even if they don’t decide to take the management path.

Interested in being a part of future panel discussions? Have any tips or experiences to share? We’d love to hear from you!