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How to be a great (product) leader – Part 3/4: leadership frameworks

Leadership can feel overwhelming. That’s why in the first part of this blog post series we investigated the responsibilities of leaders. Yet, for new leaders it might still be fuzzy what their actual day-to-day tasks are.

Similar to product managers who are guided by various frameworks and tools (e.g. usability tests, ICE prioritisation) through their daily responsibilities, there are also frameworks available for leading people.

In the following we’ll take a look at some of them.

Weekly & Monthly Pulse Survey

Once a month you can measure the satisfaction of your reports. In the beginning of your Weekly 1:1 ask them to rate the following 3 questions from 1 to 5:

  1. How fulfilled were you by your work/project in the last weeks? (-> autonomy, current)
  2. Are you growing & learning as much as you would like to? (-> mastery, growth)
  3. How much do you look forward to the next 6-12 months at our company? (-> purpose, future)

Over time you can see if an employee’s satisfaction goes up or down and you can discuss measurements to improve them. Autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the main drivers for employee motivation and retention (read more: https://blog.deliveringhappiness.com/the-motivation-trifecta-autonomy-mastery-and-purpose).

A simple online tool to collect this data is the friday.app. This app also allows your reports to share short weekly updates with you at the end of each work week, here are some typical questions to ask:

  • How are your feeling?
  • What went well?
  • What’s the #1 thing you need to accomplish next week?
  • Is there anything I can help you with?

Moving Motivators

Use this card game to learn more about what motivates your reports right now. With this insight you can learn whether important motivators are not sufficiently given and discuss how to improve them.

Average companies give their people something to work on. In contrast, the most innovative organisations give their people something to work toward!

Superstar vs. Rockstar

If you’ve read the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott you are familiar with its concept that all companies have 2 types of employees:

“Superstars” are results-driven team members who like their work and are very good at it, and who are on a very rapid growth trajectory. They’re looking to move up in the ranks and are prepared to dedicate the necessary time and energy to doing so. They constantly need to be challenged and progress in their career.

“Rockstars” are reliable team members who like their work and are very good at it, but have chosen not to follow a rapid growth trajectory. They might be happy where they are, or have other things going on in their lives outside work that they want to dedicate time and energy to.

Both types are important for a company.

Find out for each of your report if they are a Superstar or Rockstar. Afterwards, you are able to develop career paths for both types and you can better manage their job expectations.

Read more: https://medium.com/the-crossover-cast/rockstars-vs-superstars-get-to-know-your-people-b30cd878e0a1

 

To get to know your team members even better, you can create an insightful person profile for all your reports. This document can be created by the employee and only you as their manager has access. Some aspects to add:

  • About me and my role
  • Superstar vs. Rockstar classification
  • My top 5 skills and strengths
  • Motivators
  • Career Time Machine – where have I been 6 months ago
  • Career Time Machine – where do I want to be 6 months from now
  • Career Time Machine – where do I want to be 1 year from now
  • What do I expect to achieve inside the company

Performance Review

Every 6 months a performance review will help you and your employee to reflect on their development.

Potential assessments for the manager:

  • What was done well
  • What needs improvement
  • Rate on all relevant job skills from 1 (needs significant improvement) to 5 (strongly exceeding expectations)
  • Goal achievement %

Potential assessments for the employee:

  • What have I done well
  • What do I need to improve
  • What am I most proud of
  • Rate myself on all relevant job skills from 1 (needs significant improvement) to 5 (strongly exceeding expectations)
  • Goal achievement %

It is also recommended to ask peers, i.e. employees who regularly worked with your report, to provide feedback on what the employee is doing well and what she needs to improve. This gives you a holistic 360-degree assessment of your reports. Peers often face your report in many more meetings and interactions than you do.

Outstanding and consistent performances can be valued with a promotion or bonus.

You need to define the required job skills once for all positions that you lead people. For product management roles you can find in the following a great skill matrix for a very holistic list of relevant job skills and how to assess them: https://medium.com/@markusmuller89/decoding-product-management-a-skill-matrix-to-grow-coach-assess-and-hire-world-class-pms-a385a4476866

Goal Setting

Setting goals will help manager and report to align on a) result expectations, b) actions to grow and learn, and c) how to achieve the company’s goals.

Discuss goals every 3 to 6 months, potentially include it in the performance review. Goals should contribute to your company OKRs to be relevant and have measurable key results.

Potential dimensions:

  • Goals for the current project
  • Goals to learn & grow
  • Goals to contribute to the team & company

Goals should be SMART:

  • Specific: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Measurable: How to know that it was accomplished?
  • Attainable: How can I accomplish the goal?
  • Relevant: Will the goal meet short- & long term needs?
  • Time-bound: When will the goal be accomplished?

 


How to be a great leader (part 4/4)

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