Listen and take action

I am thinking specifically here of white people like me who are working among other white people and feeling the urgency — the need for growth plus a desire for growth. How do we keep going with accountability, every day from here on out?

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Rumors

I find great relief in knowing that my job isn’t ever to stop a rumor from existing. It already exists! If Beyonce can’t get an “unflattering” picture off the internet, I’m certainly not going to be able to stuff a rumor back in its bottle. My job is to help surface the truth in the most useful way possible. As a manager, I’m more weatherman during a tornado watch than god of wind.

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Get ready: Your team will embarrass you

It took me a long time to build up the confidence to let my team’s actions stand on their own, and not let my own insecurity take over. In the meantime, it’s helpful to have a process to fall back on — a sort of program you can mindlessly rely on when you may not be thinking clearly.

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Listening to a problem without solving it

So often we’re kind of trapped: on one side is our team, telling us that they’re unhappy, or that there’s a problem, or that something isn’t fair; and on the other is an entire institution that keeps on chugging along. There’s just not a lot of wiggle room in that space, which is why a lot of the time we wish the people on our teams could simply STOP COMPLAINING.

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So, you’re on the hiring team now

The point of any interview is to get concrete evidence that the candidate can or cannot meet the expectations you have for the role on your team. If you’re the hiring manager, you’ve got to calibrate with your team on what the ideal candidate will demonstrate, and what are dead-in-the-water dealbreakers.

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Managing vs micromanaging

No one can stop micromanaging overnight. That’s like getting a swimmer to switch which side they’re breathing on in the middle of a race — even if they physically can do the motions, their immediate performance will suffer. It takes time and training to break micromanage-y habits, and to develop systems that build trust and transparency with your team. Get started by asking yourself five gentle questions.

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