Category: Team Management

Management Skill Series – Introduction to Performance Reviews

This is the third in a series of posts discussing management skills. If you haven’t already, please refer to the introduction first.

This topic of Performance Reviews will have several articles discussing several aspects of the process.

What are Performance Reviews?

These are a periodical process where every person in the company will be reviewed for the quality of their work. The person performing the review is normally their direct manager. Together with the person reviewed they will discuss the strengths and weaknesses, points to keep and improve, and goals for the future.

Each company handles this sensitive topic differently, but some are common. Employees seem to hate the process of being reviewed, team leaders seem to hate reviewing their friends and colleagues, and executives will often fail in understanding the results. HR will always praise its value, but the company as a whole will often fail in following through. Performance reviews are hard but everyone involved can benefit from having them.

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Low Resources are Good For Your Team

The quest for becoming leaner has been leading many companies through the process of reducing their headcount while increasing the responsibilities of employees. Many will be dealing with more context-switches and changes than before. The byproduct of this is that you’ll always seem to be missing people in order to achieve your goals. The team will be required to perform many diverse tasks and will seem to have less time to do them. It seems to be a pain, and it may seem like you need to push your people to their absolute limits. In reality, this is an opportunity for many people. A good team leader will know to take advantage of this situation and allow his team members to fulfill their personal goals.

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Candidate Interviews – Asking the Right Questions

“Tell me about a time when you and your manager did not get along and how you resolved that conflict.” – Some recruiter

Questions like the above come up all the time during interviews. Whether you are a candidate or a recruiter you might not know what they are good for. You might cringe at them. Team leaders might call these “HR questions” and would avoid them at all cost. Once you understand why they are asked you will find they are a useful way to drill-down and learn about a candidate.

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Management Skill Series – Escalations

This is the second in a series of posts discussing management skills. If you haven’t already, please refer to the introduction first.

A very common situation is that when an employee needs to tell his manager that something unpredictable had happened and a decision needs to be made regarding the next course of action. These intersections are at the core of what will define your product or service quality. Ironically, this is also the most overlooked part of daily office communication.

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” – Murphy’s Law

Instinctively, an employee will escalate by saying what went wrong in an attempt to offload responsibility and decision-making to their superior. Instinctively, the manager will attempt to take over. In a best-case scenario the manager will come up with a solution and tell their team member what to do. In the worst-case scenario, no decision will be made and the path will be guided by constraints of time.

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Management Skill Series – Your First Team

This is the first in a series of posts discussing management skills. If you haven’t already, please refer to the introduction first. These articles will apply to new team leads who grew from within a company and those starting their first steps in managing others as well as themselves. They aim to provide for others what I’ve had to collect from mentors, teachers, or the hard way through trial and error.

A natural step in an organization would be to take a great employee and carve a path where they would have more direct impact on the company. For example, by promoting employees to Team Leads and managers.

We all have to start somewhere, and your first team will test many of the things you thought you knew about management. Most of what managers do is not something team members see. You will learn a lot about yourself and others. You will be in position to impact lives for better or worse and there’s nothing more gratifying than seeing your people grow.

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Management Skill Series – Intro

Some of the biggest challenges that young managers face come from the lack of training and mentoring. There simply aren’t many sources for someone starting out with his new leadership position, and it will require very different qualities than those they have been relying on before. This would be especially true for people who come from the technical disciplines like me.

The point of this series of articles is to provide people starting out with the first guidance on managing a team. It will introduce the basic concepts of management and how to handle yourself as a team lead in a bigger organization. I have collected this knowledge over the years through traditional training, being mentored by others, and through much trial and many errors. I believe both novices and people who already have some experience could benefit from it.

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