Effective Manager Notes

This is data from the slides mixed with my notes from the Effective Manager Conference in Boston that I attended on April 17, 2019.

An Effective Manager has 2 Responsibilities

  1. Results
  2. Retention (most turnover is because of in-effective management)

4 Behaviors

  1. Know your people
    • Action: One on Ones
    • 40% focused here
  2. Talk about performance
    • Action: Feedback
    • 30% focused here
  3. Ask for more
    • Action: Coaching
    • 15% focused here
  4. Push work down
    • Action: Delegation
    • 15% focused here

3 Types of Power

  1. Role: Given by organization; layer of removal, suspicion by Directs, fleeting, doesn’t really get you anything
    • Can work against you
  2. Relationships: happens between individuals
  3. Expertise


  • Quantity
    • everyone has different quantity that they need
    • over-communication can be spammy
    • needs to be high quality
    • needs to resonate with individuals
    • find out what’s important to them
    • everybody’s favorite topic is themselves
  • Quality
    • we try to be efficient
    • do it in group settings

One on Ones

  • Purpose is to build Relationships
  • Encourage Relationships
    • Learn what’s important to Direct
    • Should be focused on Direct’s Issues
    • Manager takes notes
    • What do they highly value?
    • Share what is most important to Manager
    • He/she is the center of attention
  • When?
    • Weekly (BEST)
    • Scheduled / Not Ad-hoc / must be predictable
      • Allows them to prepare
    • Never cancelled
    • Rescheduled when conflict arises
      • Otherwise, Direct doesn’t feel valued
      • Deferral makes Direct feel undervalued
  • How Long? About What?
    • 30 minutes: 10 for Them, 10 for You, 10 for Future
    • For Them: whatever they want, ANYTHING!
    • If they go longer, it’s OK
    • Don’t be an agenda nazi
    • Future: Coaching and career planning
    • Usually will be 15/15 Them/You
  • Where?
    • Not in public
    • A place where Direct feels comfortable
    • Don’t schedule a conference room, too much chance for problems scheduling/booking
  • Note Taking
    • One On Ones are Business Meetings
    • Handwritten
      • Tells that you’re paying attention
    • Used for performance reviews
  • No more than 3 in a row; 5 minutes between each
    • 30 minutes between each takes up too much of Manager’s time


  • Feedback is RELATIONSHIP based
  • Deliver in a way that Directs don’t feel attacked
  • Encourages effective FUTURE BEHAVIOR
    • Most managers think about the past
    • Effective Managers think about the future
    • We can’t change the past
  • Managers tend to HESITATE to give Feedback
  • Feedback is like holding a steering wheel on a straight road
    • Don’t do big dramatic swings
    • If we reserve ALL Feedback then they can’t tell how they’re doing
    • Kind of like training a dog
  • Why do we give Feedback?
    • We’re constantly making mistakes as human beings
    • Directs and Managers prioritize differently: we want to come into alignment
  • Must be ACTIONABLE
  • Is not PRAISE
    • makes them happier
    • doesn’t influence productivity
    • not given guidance on what to do or how to do better
    • no actionable information
  • Must have RELATIONSHIP with Direct, not ROLE power
    • will not be effective with ROLE power, will not stick
  • Must be done VERBALLY
    • controls tone
    • reduces misinterpretation: can feel negative
  • Tailored to the individual
    • People person vs Task person
  • Doesn’t need to be mixed up
    • Can be the same 3rd sentence every time
    • Use the Direct’s values; what’s important to them
  • Not public, not in group, doesn’t need to be 1x1
  • Do it in a way that’s impactful
  • Start with 2 middle sentences and transition to 1234 parts
  • Shit sandwiches:
    • no one likes it
    • makes manager feel better
    • is done because manager is not confident
  • 9:1, positive:negative ratio
    • if 5:5 or too much negative, Direct will resent, hate model
    • positive will reinforce them to do more positive behaviors
    • REMEMBER: positive feedback for STANDARD behavior too
      • they feel: “I thought I was supposed to do it anyways. Thanks.”
  • When not in a positive space, don’t give negative feedback
  1. Step 1: Ask

    • Always Ask
    • It’s OK if they say no
      • Can try again within 36 hours
        • If Positive Feedback, can always give
        • If Negative Feedback and >36hrs, makes it feel like a big deal
        • better to let it expire (behavior has changed!)
    • Examples:
      • “May I give you some Feedback?”
      • “Can we talk about that?”
      • “May I share something with you ?”
      • “Can I have a word?”
  2. Step 2: Describe Behavior

    • Behavior: something you can SEE and HEAR
    • Attitude is not Behavior
    • Examples:
      • When you call the customer…”
      • When you miss a deadline…”
      • When you are late to staff meetings…”
      • When you stay late to help…”
  3. Step 3: Describe Impact

    • Describe the Results of their Behavior
    • Cause & Effect; Action & Reaction; Incident & Response
    • Impacts don’t have to be “big” or “important”
    • Examples:
      • Here’s what happens: the customer calls to thank me…”
      • Here’s what happens: I notice your extra effort…”
      • “I appreciate it, and the team’s job is much easier…”
      • “Our case for the new hire is that much stronger…”
  4. Step 4: Future Effective Behavior

    • Affirming Feedback means: Thanks
    • Adjusting Feedback means: Doing it differently
      • Shepherd them
      • Don’t suggest your own way of doing things; not telling them what to do
      • Train them to bring you SUGGESTIONS/SOLUTIONS not PROBLEMS
      • This is teaching people how to think like you rather than teaching them to depend on you
    • Examples:
      • “Thanks.”
      • “Please keep it up.”
      • “Could you change that?”
      • “Can you do that differently?”
      • “What can you do differently?”


  • Tell Directs about what you’re doing, be transparent from the start
  • Schedule meeting to tell everyone
  • Important to take it slow
  • They’re going to notice it’s happening
  1. At start: do nothing
  2. At 3 weeks: One on Ones (until forever)
    • heavy investments in the relationships
  3. At 15 weeks: Add Positive Feedback (until forever)
    • be safe here; make sure there’s good rapport/relationship first; if not sure then extend this
  4. At 23 weeks: Add Negative Feedback (until forever)
  5. At 31 weeks: Add Coaching/Delegation (until forever)
    • before this, Direct doesn’t fully trust Manager


  • Manager doesn’t need expertise; this isn’t teaching
    • If no expertise, Manager can leverage network too
  • Have a meeting to walk through the basics of Coaching
  • Start with top performers
    • they feel valued and invested in
  • After 1-2 successful coaching completions, roll out to all
  • Go slowly with Coaching
  • Many Managers get overwhelmed early
  • Encourages Improved Capability
    • Sustained process for Direct’s self-improvement
    • You don’t have to train
    • You can Coach every direct during One on Ones
  • Never do it in from of other people
  • Podcast: A Corky Performer
  • Important to write everything down
  • Coaching + Delegation go hand in hand
  • Create urgency around Direct’s learning/development
  • Break work down into Actions for them
  1. DBQ
    • Deadline: “By date…”
    • Behavior: What are they going to do?
    • Quality Standard: Pass/Fail binary success
    • Achieving a Coaching Goal usually takes AT LEAST 12 WEEKS
      • if <12wks, just Delegate and give frequent Feedback
    • Write down Coaching Goals:
      • “By 2/24, you’ll run weekly staff: agenda, start/top on tine”
      • “By 5/22, you’ll produce monthly report, on time, w/o errors”
  2. Brainstorm Resources
    • Do this together with Direct
    • Goal is VOLUME, not accuracy or quality
      • No more than 2 minutes, set a timer
    • Write it down
    • Hint: Books are a great low-cost investment
  3. Plan Next Deliverables
    • Deliverable: has a DATE and a TIME
    • Pick a Resource from the Brainstorm
    • Let Direct have significant input
      • they will be the one doing the work
      • who cares how they do it if they get there?
    • List some SEQUENTIAL DELIVERABLES for using the resource
    • Give them short due dates early
    • Frequent small do-able steps leads to early success
  4. ACT
    • Your Direct implements the Plan
    • Your Direct reports to you weekly on progress
    • When they meet the Goal, CELEBRATE!
    • When they are LATE, adjust the plan
    • Repeated late can be failure
      • Can be an opportunity to give Feedback about failure to meet deadlines
    • If you run out of Resources, go through the steps again


  • Tasks that are yours to do that they take going forward
  • Should not be Tasks they are able to say no to (?)
  • Is essentially succession planning
  • “You will never get all your work done”
  • Don’t try to make people happy: it’s a losing game
    • Try to make them more productive
  • Encourages Increased Productivity
    • State your desire for help
      • “Rob, I’d like your help on something”
    • Tell them why you’re asking THEM
      • “You’re the closest to this customer”
      • “You’re most in need of growth in this area, and I trust you”
    • Ask for specific acceptance
      • “Would you please take over the monthly project meeting?”
    • Describe the task/project in detail
      • “Here’s what’s involved…”
  • Use Coaching model
  • “There will always be too much work to do”
    • Customers are expecting more from you everyday
  • Manager has higher valued time
  • Thought: “If I pass this down, will she be able to do it as well as I did when I did it the FIRST TIME?”
  • Low drop in quality in short time for longer term investment
  • Delegate tasks taht:
    • I am the expert
    • Take <12 weeks to learn
  • Who can do it?
    • Someone who wants to do it
    • Good at doing it
    • Like to do it
    • Enjoys it
    • “Needs to” do it (but avoid this if possible)
  • Best way to teach someone something new
    • succession planning
  • Delegate to the floor
    • Cascade down

Additional Resources: