We've just launched plato for individuals

🔥

login


Google Sign inLinkedIn Sign in

Don't have an account? 

Five Questions a Manager Should Ask Themselves Every Week

Personal growth
Productivity
Health / Stress / Burn-Out

10 May, 2019

Daniel Pupius

Problem

As a manager your job is to make sure your team is successful; to cultivate an environment where people can do their best work. But let's face it, it's not easy. In today's increasingly complex workplaces it is all too easy to fall into a pattern of reaction. There's always more meetings to attend, emails to reply to, and fires to fight. Once you're there, it can be incredibly hard to get your feet back under you.

Actions taken

Five minutes of reflection at the end of the week allows you to catch things while they're still small and can help you stay on top of everything. Add a recurring calendar event every Friday afternoon, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Does workload need to be rebalanced? Over time it is easy for work to become unbalanced among your team members. Someone will have three critical tasks on their backlog while someone else will be working through low-priority items. This is natural, but it's best to intervene before someone starts complaining and deadlines start being missed.
  • Is anyone starting to show symptoms of burnout? Full-on burnout is hard to recover from, so it's best to act swiftly if a member of your team seems like they could be starting to suffer. Burnout isn't always the result of too much work, but can be related to lack of control, monotony, and fairness. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms and be ready to have a conversation if you notice anything off.
  • Does anyone need more of a challenge? In a safe and supportive environment, we learn the most when we're pushed slightly out of our comfort zone, sometimes called our "growing edge". Ask yourself whether anyone on your team could have more autonomy, take on bigger projects, or assume other leadership responsibilities. Remember, bored people quit.
  • Is there anything we should be celebrating? In many ways, culture is shaped by what you recognize and celebrate. If you only celebrate launches, people will yearn for the dopamine hit of a launch spike and will neglect the essential follow up work. Look for people living your values, doing work that is unseen, or taking initiative and filling in gaps, then celebrate them in a meeting, all hands, or with an email to the team. Also, gratitude is a strong indicator of high performing teams.
  • What should we stop doing? Even when you're aware of the sunk cost fallacy, it can still be hard to put a stop to things. You might be worried about disappointing your team, but I wager they'll be happier to drop a task midway than spend a bunch of time working on something that doesn't matter anymore.

Lessons learned

Five simple questions, and you only need to take a few minutes each week to reflect on them. Make a note of things you observed while answering the questions, and use them as a task list to get your Monday morning off to a running start.

Source: https://www.range.co/blog/five-questions-a-manager-should-ask-themselves


Related stories

Setting Guardrails and Containing an Increase in Cloud Costs
21 September

Michael Mac-Vicar, CTO at Wildlife Studios, dissects how to set guardrails that would contain the exponential increase in cloud costs.

Dev Processes
Productivity
Michael Mac-Vicar

Michael Mac-Vicar

CTO at Wildlife Studios

Outcomes Before Outputs: Measuring Engineering Performance
14 September

Marian Kamenistak, VP of Engineering at Mews, explains why EMs shouldn’t be measuring the output of a team or individual engineers, but the outcome of the whole team.

Impact
Productivity
Marian Kamenistak

Marian Kamenistak

VP of Engineering at Mews

Get More Done by Working Less
14 September

David La France, VP of Engineering at Kenna Security, explains how managers can level up their skills and scale in their roles by learning to work less, but smarter.

Personal growth
Delegate
Impact
Productivity
David La France

David La France

VP Engineering at Synack

Architecture Council: An Idea for Advancing Organizational Strategic Orientation
28 August

Brad Henrickson, CTO at Scoop, shares how by establishing the Architecture Council he advanced strategic thinking of the engineering team and overall strategic orientation of his organization.

Impact
Productivity
Feedback
Brad Henrickson

Brad Henrickson

CTO at Scoop

Building a Prototype With Limited Resources
13 August

Philip Camilleri, Co-Founder and former CTO at SmartAsset, and now CEO at Founderslist, explains how he approached building a prototype, not meant for production, with limited resources typical for startups.

Productivity
Managing Expectations
Philip Camilleri

Philip Camilleri

Cofounder and CTO at Founderslist

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.