Management Practices to Include in Professional Goals

Written by Cindy Leavitt, VP and Chief Information Officer

Diverse group of coworkers sitting around a table for an in-person meeting.Last year, a few of our managers came together and formed a “Manager Think Tank.” The purpose of this group was to provide support to each other, explore how to become better managers, and make our organization great for all team members.

Many of the managers had been promoted from a technical role to a managerial one with no training on how to be an effective manager. With that in mind, they identified six core management practices needed to create an empowered and innovative culture.

  1. Schedule and prioritize recurring 1:1s with each staff member. 50% (or more) of the time should be addressing topics raised by the employee, not the manager.
  2. Schedule and prioritize recurring team meetings designed to encourage sharing amongst team members versus a "lecture style" meeting led only by the manager.
  3. Clearly set expectations and priorities for work. Goals should be time-based, and deliverables agreed upon with the employee. Changing expectations requires intentional communication, re-setting priorities and/or getting needed resources.
  4. Feedback (positive or constructive) is given immediately. Personalize praise/recognition; provide constructive feedback privately.
  5. Create a shared vision of the team's work and allow employees the autonomy to make decisions and get the work done (compass vs GPS).
  6. One of the most important responsibilities of a people leader is to their direct and indirect employees. Among their highest priorities, managers must advocate for, empower, coach, and develop their employees.

These may seem obvious to seasoned managers. However, like flossing one’s teeth daily, they require commitment, habits, time and support to do them consistently.

The Manager Think Tank’s next goal was to have every manager in our organization commit to these practices. The group presented their work and asked if I would commit to these practices in my annual goals. I agreed and in turn asked my direct reports to also commit and cascade that message to all managers within OTDI.

From the list of core management practices,
I noticed several areas that I could be doing better
I committed without hesitation.

We still have more to do after committing to these practices. This year the Manager Think Tank will be crafting our monthly manager meetings to train and provide tools to help all managers do these practices better.

I am proud and grateful to this amazing group of dedicated managers. They are co-creating an empowered and innovative culture for everyone on our team.