The one thing leaders can do to create more trust with their team
Leaders need better systems for communicating tasks.
I recently wrote that we are having the wrong conversation about work. Remote work is never going away for knowledge workers, so we should be talking about trust, freedom, and asynchronous communication. That's the next big conversation.
Deep trust is difficult for many leaders. Team members need to be trusted to be competent professionals with less oversight and more responsibility than ever before. Leaders need to extend deep trust to accomplish this, but with a system to verify when things are complete.
The one thing leaders must do to extend deep trust and give team members more autonomy is to ask for things within a closed system.
Here's what I mean. Have you ever sent a team member an email about an important task, gotten no response, and then wondered if it would get done? How about a Slack, Teams, or text message? The problem with sending tasks like this is they can get missed by mistake, leaving the task overlooked, undone, and lost. This gives the leader the urge to "check-in" about what they asked someone else to do. The check-in is usually well-intentioned but leads the team member to feel micro-managed if they saw the task and had planned on doing it or embarrassed if they missed it.
The best place to ask for a task from a team member is in a task management or project management system. These are closed systems, so the task never gets lost. By having tasks in a system, you know if the task is complete, and you have a place to reference for a follow-up to check on it.
Leaders should ask for things from their team within a system, and then (if they are compelled to send an email about it) send an email with a link to that task. Later, in a regular meeting, the leader can follow up with team members about their lists, making sure everything is done.
This approach extends more trust to the team by eliminating those "I'm just checking in" messages, giving team members the space to work at their own pace. It also gives the leader more peace of mind, knowing that the tasks needed aren't getting lost in the shuffle somewhere. This approach reduces micro-management and helps the whole team communicate better, getting more work complete, with more flexibility in the process.
If you are looking for a good task-management or project management tool to use with your team, I suggest checking out the following:
Great leadership reading from this week
A Googler’s Guide to Running the Perfect Meeting - Running a good meeting is pretty straightforward, but few people do these things. Great meetings have the following: (1) Event description (2) Email an agenda (3) Open with a purpose, benefit, check (this last one is worth reading this article).
Offer less jam - This post from my friend Mickey makes a compelling argument for why we should keep the options we give to customers simple.
Peloton And The ‘Four Laws Of Holes’ When Managing A Crisis - I haven’t ever managed through a crisis, but I’m glad to have this thinking in my pocket if I need to someday.
Other interesting reading from this week
New Study: The Path Not Taken Is Probably Way Worse Than You Imagine (So Regret Your Choices Less) - This article was fascinating. We tend to romanticize the choices we didn’t make, assuming they would have led to better outcomes than they really would have. This means the regret we feel for a choice we didn’t make is usually ill-placed.
Inside Mississippi’s only class on critical race theory - I enjoyed reading this article. It’s a balanced overview of this student’s experience and thinking on this class.
This Easy Way to Increase Your Own Empathy Is Cheap, Fun, and Backed by Science - This article is about how reading fiction makes you empathize with the characters in the story, seeing things from their perspective and thus increasing your ability to have empathy for others in real life. I love this!
Great podcasts from this week
Mind Reading 2.0: How others see you - Hiden Brain - This episode is about how we perceive initial meetings with new friends differently from how they perceive it.
My Podcasts to check out
Tech Talk Y'all - My tech/comedy news podcast.
Real Pink - I host the national podcast for Susan G. Komen. If you want some inspiration or information about breast cancer, give it a listen.
TechBridge Talks - A podcast about using technology to end generational poverty.
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