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How to manage a team towards high performance?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community2 months ago

I've done a lot of research on how to be a good manager, but now do I just "trust the process" or how do I ensure we are a high performance team over the next half?

I'm a newish EM at a Series-B start up of 150 people, ~25 engineers. So far I have positive feedback from my manager and reports that I am empathetic and supportive. What my manager is telling me now though is that we need to see results. Productivity and performance seem OK in my first months but it is too soon to really see my impact. My manager noted that since we have scaled up from 4 engineers to 25 and gone mostly remote over 3 years there may be a loss of a sense of urgency and the feeling of impact per dev. We are also split into many teams with a smaller scope per team.

The temptation when asked to "get results" might be to ask for constant updates from developers and punish them when fake hard deadlines are given and missed (we are a B2C company so there are rarely actual deadlines). So how do I motivate my team to work hard in a healthy sustainable way? How do I measure the progress and reward them fairly while creating a team focused culture and not one that is competitive and individualist?

Below are some of the management ideas I'm using/working towards. I have lots of room to learn how to do each better, so advice on which to prioritize my effort at improving first would be great in addition to notes on what's missing and what seems off on the list:

Individual attention

  • Working with each individual to set SMART goals for the next half
  • Working with each individual to figure out what motivates them, and do that
  • Figuring out what learning each person wants to do and giving them support there
  • Regular, timely feedback (positive and negative)
  • 1:1s where I do a lot of listening, help remove blocker
  • Shielding from outside distraction and unhelpful pressures

Team culture

  • Creating a lowercase-a agile mindset: people are first and it is ok to fail and we learn from our mistakes. We can fail gracefully by making small, quick launches where we get frequent feedback from the users, and feedback from coworkers on how we are succeeding/failing
  • Making the team effective first, efficient second: 5 wrong things done in a quarter are worse than 2 right things that move the needle
  • Setting team OKRs for the next half that the team wants to accomplish
  • Encouraging team work on tasks, pair programming, positive code review culture, etc
  • Improving the process to make it effective and fun around how the flow of work happens between planning, selecting tasks, marking things as done and tested
  • Team demos with stakeholders to show off results and get feedback

Bonus questions about motivation: In 1:1s how do you figure out what motivates someone since they might not say extrinsic things like money even if that is what they are working for, or the opposite they might be happy at their level and just like the work they do with a good work life balance but might not say that directly either. Also if there is a team of 5 where 2 want money and 3 love the work for itself, how do you tailor their experience to that? The first two will still want fun/interesting work and the second three still want to get promoted and compensated fairly.

Thanks!

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Discussion

(4 comments)
  • Touseef Liaqat
    Founder
    2 months ago
    2 Likes
  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 months ago
    1 Like
  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 months ago
    1 Like
  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 months ago
    1 Like
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