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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Not-fun conversations

There’s a moment every boss has and it’s not a fun one. It’s the moment you have to tell someone: We have a problem here, and it’s not fine. Things need to change, starting now, and improve steadily, ideally quickly, or we’re going to be having a bigger, badder conversation in the very near future. Here’s how.

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Boring announcements

Introducing a new series: Have Better Meetings. This week, we talk about boring announcements — particularly, boring ones where you’re regurgitating what’s been said before. Instead of adding flair to your delivery, we recommend adding substance to your content.

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It’s meeting time!

Meetings are too unpredictable to say “here’s how to do a good one.” Instead, we’re going to talk about how we approach the concept of meetings, and some of the things that have helped make them less scary.

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