Be a Better Delegator.

People at start-ups have to scale, but so do managers at large companies! The same mindset applies here, especially around finding the right people and delegating to them.

Here are 3 must-dos for effective delegation:

  1. Explain context. Don't tell people what to do, tell them what the outcome needs to look like and why. That way they can make good decisions in the right direction.

  2. Mid-point check-in. When you've delegated a large project, have them let you know when they will set up time with you to check-in, so you can review their progress.

  3. Debrief. At the end of a project you've delegated reserve time to review how it went and, most importantly, lessons learned. The key to increasing people's capacity - and being able to delegate more - is for them to learn as rapidly as possible. Debriefing accelerates this process.

I would love to hear what tools you use to become a better delegator!

You're bought in to scaling yourself, and you know you need to be a better delegator. Check out these common delegation mistake for you to avoid.

Creating your Leadership Manifesto

CEOs and other leaders have certain expectations for the way they want their lieutenants to act - and they should! Each member of the leadership team has two jobs: 1) the function and 2) being a leader in the company. That leadership aspect is often unstated.

Creating a "Leadership Manifesto" helps you clarify your own thinking as well as communicate to the team your expectations.

What should be in your Leadership Manifesto? Qualities and behaviors you want your entire leadership team to embody. Here are a few examples:

  • You are quick to learn new things, open to feedback, and overall have a growth mindset. You transfer that thinking to your team so that everyone is learning on the job rapidly and learning from mistakes

  • Part of your job is to inspire and buoy up everyone around you, including the CEO herself from time to time. We absolutely need brutal realism, but bubbling just below the surface is a can-do spirit and determination that we can overcome every obstacle to win. Emotions are catching; make sure you manage yours.

  • I can count on you. I know that you will take on what I ask you to or help me think through why it's not a good idea. I know that you will do new things with wise judgment and in a way that works with our culture.

How about you? What's in your Leadership Manifesto? I'd love to hear what you come up with!

Three small habits that will yield big results

Small habits are easy to implement and yield big rewards. Pick one of these habits to start this winter. I would love to hear your results!

  1. Prepare for tough moments. Think through controversial meetings in advance: who might challenge you? What might they say? What will you say in response? You actually can predict what tough things will come up if you sit down and think about it. Systematically planning for difficult interactions or tricky situations will make you brilliant when they do come up, rather than thinking of the perfect remark six hours later.

  2. Make quicker decisions. Many people get paralyzed thinking they need more data. Practice making a quick decision. Quick decision-making is a key executive skill, and research shows that it is more effective to make quick decisions and course correct as you go than to collect more and more data and put off decision-making.

  3. Work on strategic projects first. Obviously this will get you to do more strategic things more often. Accomplishing high value things also boosts dopamine, a neurotransmitter in your brain - the same one you are flooded with when you are in the early stage of love. Talk about putting you in a good mood!

Delegation Bloopers

You're bought in to scaling yourself, and you know you need to be a better delegator. To get the most out of delegating, remember that you are delegating not simply to move tasks but also to build the capability of your team members.

Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

Telling more than asking: asking questions lets others think through situations themselves rather than falling into the trap of carrying out your direction.

Failure to clarify the deliverable: you may know exactly what you want. Perhaps you'll "know it when you see it." Either way, make sure you set people up for success by agreeing on the end state.

Fear of being a micro-manager: leaders are often squeamish about telling someone what to do. If you want a good outcome you need to agree on check-points so you can ask good questions, offer suggestions and provide support along the way.

Failure to debrief: debriefing after a project is completed is the single best way to ensure learning. Missing this step guarantees that you and your team member won't get the most out of delegating.

Do not fall into delegation traps! I would love to hear from you about delegation tips you have, or bloopers that you have seen!


Please Stop Using The Feedback Sandwich

Please Stop Using The Feedback Sandwich

Among my pet peeves from the conventional wisdom playbook about management, the “feedback sandwich” is at the top of the list.

You know what the feedback sandwich is. It is a way of giving feedback that goes like this: say something nice; then say the critical feedback – what you actually want to say; then say something nice again.

Getting Out of Your Head

Getting Out of Your Head

Getting out of your head is one of the toughest challenges you face as a founder/CEO. You have to wade through your own unproductive voices and make sure you communicate clearly and regularly with your team. It's a good time of year to remind yourself of this. I hope you enjoy this encore newsletter, which was also just featured on OpenView

It's not about being nice!

It's not about being nice!

One of the biggest misconceptions about how leaders talk to people is that they are supposed to be "nice." It's not about being nice! It's about using the right tools to come across clearly and not shut people down - for some that can be harder than it sounds! Use these tools: 1) Manage your tone 2) Frame it so they can hear you 3) Be specific.

Performance appraisals that aren't terrible

Performance appraisals that aren't terrible

It's that time of year! Performance appraisal season. There is plenty of confusion and dread about this process. How do you make it most useful? The best way to approach it: 1) Measure outcomes; 2) measure leadership behaviors; 3) get feedback from others.