❓What's your best advice for Managers
5 Recommendations from our community and 5 Management Resources
Managers are major partners for internal communications — they champion messages, share employee sentiment and build culture.
Jesse Bianco-Lane, Head of Internal Communications at Webflow makes the case for why they are so important:
The most overlooked and forgotten tool — which is in every company's arsenal — and is arguably the most important in my opinion — is to tap into managers. Managers are the bridge between more junior team members and senior management. They can be leveraged to deliver messages and manage information up and down the line. People managers have insight into their teams and how information is being perceived, as well as a deep understanding of strategic priorities and vision from the top.
In any internal communications role I’ve had, one of my first priorities has been to set up a more robust manager communications program. This typically involves implementing recurring manager meetings, preparing FAQs and talking points for trickle down communications, trainings, and manager specific communications channels and strategies. My goal is to make managers feel empowered to take the information that they’re receiving and tailor it in a way that makes sense for their teams.
The idea of a single message going to the entire organization and being received in the same way is a fallacy. Managers play an incredibly crucial role in distilling important information in a digestible way for their teams and providing critical context because they know their team and their unique needs better than anyone else.
With this in mind, I invited five leaders featured on The Switchboard to share their best advice for managers. These are their recommendations, which are outlined in detail below:
🧡 Get to Know Your Team | Tiffin Jernstedt
⚓ Build Trust | Arlene Amitirigala
🪞 Know Thyself | Mansi Goel
🎧 Listen with Empathy | Laura Colantuono
📣 Practice, Be Self-Aware and Find a Coach | Christine Tao
What advice would you add to this list? Add your suggestions.
At the end of this article, I share five management resources to support supervising success, whether you’re an aspiring manager or leader of a large team.
📚 The Making Of a Manager | Julie Zhou
⛳ Work is changing. Your management approach needs to change, too. Here’s how. | Humu
📘 Management | First Round Essentials
🎐 The Ultimate Manager's Guide to Leading Effective One-on-Ones | Lattice
☕ Effective managers: An HR guide | Culture Amp
Words of Wisdom
🧡 #1 Get to Know Your Team | Tiffin Jernstedt
My best advice as a manager is to get to know your team from a professional and personal perspective so you can help your team excel. We don’t have two separate lives — work versus personal, we have one life! We need to be better about how parts of our lives come together.
⚓ #2 Build Trust | Arlene Amitirigala
I’ve experienced some phenomenal and inspiring leaders who helped me grow and develop and I’ve also learned a lot over the years from managing others. When I examine the times where we had brilliant performance and results, it came down to trust.
If you are leading one person or a team, my best advice is to focus on building and nurturing trust, as the foundation for a great relationship.
When you trust your direct reports, they gain confidence, and give of their best. It also opens the door to hold courageous conversations and foster belonging. So, trust them to get the job done, trust them to do the right thing and trust them to take risks. People can feel when they are not trusted and it makes them shrink, it slows them down and it impacts the entire team’s performance.
And remember that trust is a two-way street. You also need to be a leader who is trustworthy. That means keeping your word and being authentic, honest, and consistent. It also means trusting yourself and your leadership. You can’t extend to others what you won’t give yourself.
🪞#3 Know Thyself | Mansi Goel
Know thyself. Be as aware and honest with yourself as possible about what motivates you, what triggers you, what you're afraid of, when you feel vulnerable, how you offer/seek help, etc. If you're not aware of these, you won't notice when you're projecting, compensating for, or coping with difficulties in ways that affect others, perhaps harmfully.
When you manage people, you're in a power dynamic that can be uncomfortable on both sides. It's important 1) to be aware of how you relate to power and what asserting it or holding it surfaces in you, and 2) to become sensitive to how your team members relate to power and authority because these can invite projections from them onto you also.
Being more aware of your own mental models and nervous system habits enables you to be more intentional with your team rather than merely reflexive.
🎧 #4 Listen with Empathy | Laura Colantuono
My best advice is to be empathetic listeners. The life of people managers is challenging, and the responsibility that comes with it shouldn’t be overlooked.
To thrive in this role, and ensure the people we manage could thrive too, we need to listen without judgment and promote psychological safety to create a space where they feel safe to open up and share.
This will help people managers support their teams better and build mutual trust, which is ultimately the foundation of every successful working relationship.
📣 #5 Practice, Be Self-Aware and Find a Coach | Christine Tao
People often think that leadership and management is something you're born with. I think its a learned skill. A skill that needs to be practiced day in and day out, and certainly comes with its challenges.
Dealing and working with people is never easy — but that's why it can also be so rewarding. I'd encourage folks to try and be aware of those moments where you feel yourself acting out reactively. Those can be opportunities to take a moment, a pause — and see what happens when you don't move into action immediately.
And of course, find a coach to help you both develop and hold you accountable as you learn these skills. :)
Now that we’ve shared words of wisdom, here are five management resources to support supervising success.
📚 #1 The Making Of a Manager | Julie Zhou
“As your team's manager, you're expected to have all the answers. But what if you feel like you don't know what you're doing? Enter The Making of a Manager. It's an everything-you-need-to-know field guide to rocking your job, earning your confidence, and leading your team to new horizons.”
⛳ #2 Work is changing. Your management approach needs to change, too. Here’s how. | Humu
“In November 2021, we surveyed over 200 managers to better understand how they were navigating the shift to hybrid work. The vast majority told us that knowing when team members need more support and offering useful feedback are the most important aspects of their jobs. But those same issues were the ones they struggled with the most in a hybrid model: managers reported having a hard time balancing team member workloads and helping their people combat burnout. Another top concern was building a strong team culture.
These pain points highlight a key issue: the management approaches that worked pre-pandemic are not the same approaches that will work in hybrid. In order for your team to adapt and thrive in this new world of work, your management style needs to adapt, too. Here are four science-backed tips to help you get started.”
📘 #3 Management | First Round Essentials
“Given that a manager’s journey can often feel like a lonely uphill climb in the dark, we’ve assembled the most essential advice from the archives of the Review to help light the path forward. Whether you’re transitioning from IC to manager for the first time, stepping into the manager-of-managers role, or just starting to build a company, this collection of articles — beautifully packaged together for an easier read — will help you nail that transition.”
🎐#4 The Ultimate Manager's Guide to Leading Effective One-on-Ones | Lattice
“Communication plays a key role in any manager-employee relationship. While email, Slack, and team meetings can help managers and their direct reports stay in contact, there’s no substitute for actual facetime. That’s why one-on-one meetings are an unparalleled way for individuals to come together to share company, team, and personal updates — and why they’re so crucial….
We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help managers ace these important meetings. Whether you’re a first-time manager or an experienced veteran, here are all the best practices, expert advice, and agenda templates you’ll need to lead efficient and effective one-on-ones with ease.”
☕#5 Effective managers: An HR guide | Culture Amp
“What does it mean to be a manager? In a given week, a manager can serve as a delegator, a coach, a therapist, and a cheerleader. But so often, new managers don’t have the support they need to take on the many hats of a leader.
In the past, managers and HR teams haven’t always had the strongest relationship. Managers tend to perceive HR as someone they hear from when there's a problem, rather than as an ongoing support system. And HR can often feel like the complaint department when managers only come to them with problems. Research consistently shows that the success of managers is the greatest indicator of success for an organization. So we’ve set out to help rebuild the relationship between HR and managers.”
❓What's your best advice for Managers? What resources help you lead? Add your recommendations in the comments.
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