A practical guide for managers at all levels

Great managers seem to know intuitively how to stay involved with the work without having to be in the drivers’ seat themselves. They do this by:

  • holding regular one-on-ones with their direct reports
  • managing by wandering around the organization
  • sitting in on the occasional project meeting
  • review and provide timely feedback on interim work products

Friday reports
Another tool you can use is to ask people to complete something on of my friends has dubbed “Friday reports”.

This is a very simple report, one that you ask every one in your organization to complete and send to you via email. Here’s the email I send that describes the report and why it works:

“Every Friday, please send me via email a very simple report like so:

  • This week’s accomplishments: The stuff you did this week that moved the business ahead.
  • Next week’s objectives: The stuff you plan on getting done next week to do the same.
  • Kudos: Thanks to people on the team who went above and beyond the call of duty to help you and {company name}.
  • Red Flags: Stuff you can see that – if not resolved – will keep us from becoming the company we aspire to be.

The report should take you about 5 minutes to do – is due every Friday – and is NOT optional. I know some folks will rebel against doing these reports (I know I did when first presented with the need to do them at another company) but most people who start doing them find them an incredibly useful way to cut through the clutter that makes our days so full and concentrate on what’s really important.”

And – think about it – as the company grows your management will actually know what everyone is working on, who is consistently going above and beyond the call of duty, and what stuff the people who work here are worried about. What a concept!