leadership Archives

  1. The 1:1 Meeting →

    In the wake of the world’s recent condition, there’s been a lot of talk about remote work. My last role was as a remote team leader who regularly engaged with 13 employees across a handful of time zones. Aside from the numerous messaging and conferencing tools available, the single-handed most valuable tool that I used to stay engaged with the team were our 1:1 meetings (read “one to one”, or “one on one”).

    Each week, I met with each team member for 30 minutes. We talked about project priorities, task challenges, caught up on our personal lives, and periodically checked in on their career trajectories. The 1:1’s helped me build and maintain great relationships with our team, and allowed us to minimize interruptions during the week while each of us were “in the zone” on our projects. I could go on about the benefits, but I think you can already see the value behind this tool.

    If you’re considering running 1:1’s in your new role as remote team leader, I recommend getting started with this guide from Michael Lopp: The Update, The Vent, and The Disaster

    (Hint: If you schedule your 1:1’s in blocks, you can still have big blocks of time for other tasks associated with your role.)

  2. Email Auto-Responders as an Opportunity

    With the Holidays in full swing, many of us will be setting up automated email responses for the days we are out of the office. Yes, you will probably write which days you’ll be out, and that you will get back to them as soon as practical. Do that.

    But, I encourage you to also use this infrequent opportunity to try something new. For example:

    • Share with your contacts an interesting project you’ve been building
    • Give them a preview about what they can expect to see from you in the next few months
    • Get personal and talk about a hobby you’ll enjoy while you’re away
    • Tell them that you appreciate the great work your team has been doing
    • Drop a link or two to some recent good reads (blog posts, articles, books)

    For me, this change in habit prompted some interesting conversations among colleagues in the office. And I’m hopefully that being personal built some trust with customers I was interacting with through the message.