Managing a team let alone a virtual team has it’s challenges. I’m an avid reader and yet I still found myself struggling to remember what I’ve gone over with my manager and what I still need to speak to her about. To keep up with the increasing need for communication, I noticed that I was sending emails, instant messages and calling her whenever something popped into my mind.
Yes, you guessed it – that was becoming irritating. I realized that my need to get it off my to-do list and on to hers was causing a flow disruption. What are you doing that is causing harm to your teams’ workflow?
My manager shared with me a tool that she was using to keep track of her team. I was slow to adopt, but after becoming aware that I was creating a problem I started using her tool. It’s amazing, so I thought I would share it with you.
It’s called the Employee Call Tracker. The first part tracks basics – like name, position, hire date and manager. Things one would need for reviews or other human resource matters – so it’s always at your fingertips.
The next section is the goals for the year. We have a fiscal year for annual reviews, so our goals run from July to June. Again, this is so the goals that both you and the team member have agreed on are front and center. Easy for you to talk through each week during your 1 to 1 meeting.
Now is the fun part – the part that solved the constant need for me to interrupt her when she was getting things done. I put the date of our next meeting and start numbering my questions/thoughts and action items. It has now become my habit to open my word document when I need to put something on her to-do list instead of an email. Only the time critical – can’t wait until the next meeting stuff gets conveyed in the middle of the week.
The beauty of this document is the tracking of the solutions to issues. I document right in the same document what we decided about each issue. Now, I have a place besides my memory to consult when issues resurface.
I will not lie – it took some time to get used to the process. I just like everyone else like instant gratification. This is an exercise in respecting someone else’s flow with the added benefit of documenting what is happening in your organization. Once you start a process like this, you may find that you can never live without it again. I mean next year when it becomes annual evaluation time, I will have a lot of information to use that is meaningful.
What are your best tips and tricks on how to stay connected to your people and yet give them space to do their jobs?