Without getting into the debate between leaders and managers, I think we can all agree that both are needed. But here’s my problem – I don’t really like managing. I know, it’s a needed part of leading people, and without it, the chaos reigns. So over the last 15 years, I’ve developed a management approach that works for me and the kind of leading and managing I want to do. It won’t work for everyone, but I bet it works for more of you than you might imagine – even if initially it might scare you.
One Call to Manage Them All
Even before I started managing people in remote locations, I discovered that a single meeting, held daily, was more valuable than the random and spontaneous approach of many meetings over a week, or that single once-a-week marathon meeting that many of my peers use to lead. I call it a “pulse” call because it’s the way I check on the heartbeat of my teams. One call. Every single day. At the same time each day. And each quarter I change the time of the meeting so it doesn’t become too commonplace for people. Today, as I manage people in three countries and five states, I can’t imagine life without a daily pulse call.
Positive Peer Pressure
Remember when you’re mom would ask you, “If Billy jumped off a bridge, would you?” (was it only *my* mom that did that?) I love peer pressure and I use it daily on the pulse call. The way it works is simple. I go around the room and ask each person to share three things – what they gone done, what they are on now, and what is holding them back from moving forward. Each person shares in 3-5 minutes. It takes a little practice to help people get it short, but by talking every day, no one needs to remind me of the complete context because we talked about it yesterday. The peer pressure comes from the number of people getting things done. By reporting on that first, the others “in the room” don’t want to be the only ones not getting things done, so they drive things forward. In essence the call focuses on the exceptions. But most importantly, when one person gets stopped up, another person on the team can help them out. And when one person is getting slow, they’re more likely to ask for help – from me or from someone on the team.
What would You Do with your Free Time?
So the big question, if you only spent 30-60 minutes a day on a daily management call is what you’d do with the rest of your time each day? Maybe you could focus on that work that only you can do. Maybe you could focus on those strategic projects that no one has time for. One thing I can tell you for sure: you’ll spend less time managing, and for me, that’s a great thing.