Are you a virtual manager? We’ve got highly actionable tips to get you headed in the right direction.
These are things you must get in the habit of doing regularly or your team’s performance will suffer. Even if you’re an experienced leader, doing it in a remote environment takes a few tweaks to dial it in.
Be sure you also check out Part 1 of this episode (#07).
Deacon Bradley 0:06
Hello, and welcome to the virtual business podcast. I'm your host, Deacon Bradley, joined today by Ralph burns and Angela Pons, furred for part two of our conversation tips for virtual managers. And I don't know what we were thinking last week, we sat down before the episode, we had seven or eight points we wanted to talk through. And we thought, yeah, we can knock this out. We can do this. We can squeeze all these in here. We weren't even close. Well, last week, we talked about making sure you set expectations and have total clarity. When you're, when you're giving working with your team and giving them things to do. We talked about how a part of that is making sure you're really clear on the channels where you want to communicate about a task, whether that's an Asana or Trello task or in a Slack channel, or even text message, whatever it is, make sure you're really clear about that. And number three, we talked about the importance of rapid feedback and just how crucial that is is building a high performance team. And you've got those three things under your belt, you're in a really great spot. And today, we want to bring you the second half of our conversation, tips for virtual managers, and really build on that foundation, make you really shine as a manager. And we're gonna start with the right way to delegate. So delegating in a way that not only frees you up, but also empowers your team and begins to grow new managers and new leaders that's going to free you up even more and really accelerate your business. Now, Angela, you have a ton of experience in this area. Your team is is pretty large now spending billions of dollars every single month on Facebook advertising in our agency. So you've obviously figured out how to do this well, and how to do this without losing your mind.
Angela Ponsford 1:50
Yeah, so you know, when you have, you know, a fair amount of reports. I mean, anything I guess anything over two or three You have to, you have to push those those decisions down to the team. Because otherwise, you're just going to very, very quickly get overwhelmed. And I know because I've done it, you know, trying to micromanage or do everything, and trying to oversee absolutely everything you have to trust people, you know, and there are levels of delegation, we will probably talk do a complete different podcast episode on how to delegate effectively, but yet how trusting your team and giving them the responsibility to make certain decisions so that you don't have to oversee every tiny, tiny little decision that's going on in the accounts because, you know, I mean, it was relevant for any business. But if you're running Facebook ads, there's so many decisions have to be made on a daily basis and ad accounts. And you don't want to have to be overseeing every single one of those.
Ralph Burns 2:50
And I think you'll be pleasantly surprised if you actually do push a lot of those decisions, you know, down I suppose like if we're looking at the hierarchy like these are People that report to you. So you're pushing that down. That doesn't mean like sort of in a bad sense, like, this is beneath me kind of thing. But you know, you're enabling them to make decisions. You have to do that in a virtual world. You should be doing it in the real world, too, because delegation is how you actually extend your influence of your leadership and your management and get results through others. So but especially in a virtual world, I think it'll be interesting to see, based upon this whole pandemic thing that we're going through right now, will this fundamentally change people from a manager leader perspective? Like, are they becoming more micromanaging and less delegate Tory, or are they becoming more delegate Tory, I don't even know if that's a word. But anyway. Yeah, it's good enough. It is not. It isn't a podcast. So it is it's in the pocket. So it's official, but you'd be surprised at how effective That is a leadership tool. But also you'd be surprised at how effective it is. and coming up with solutions you never would have thought of in your own if you had done it yourself.
Angela Ponsford 4:10
Yeah, absolutely. And that's a really good point about the in a remote environment and that tendency, I think, to feel that you have to micromanage more I hate, I'd hate to micromanage because I think it does get overused. You know, there's definitely times when you have to be, you have to be in the weeds with your team, you have to be in the weeds with your direct reports. And it's, you know, help assisting them. And so it's kind of a loaded term, but you know, it's a guess it's one that people understand, but when you are remote there, there is more of that tendency, I have to see exactly what they've done. I have to I have to know all the things about this task, but in reality, you know, yeah, as you see, you often get pleasantly surprised when you give them more and more responsibility and trust that they're going to do a good job and never never taken it too. extent, you know, where if there's things that have to be QC or things that absolutely have to have a second pair of eyes, you know that still okay and absolutely should be getting done. But really, you're challenging yourself to give more responsibility to your team members, when they've proven that they deserve it.
Ralph Burns 5:15
It empowers people, and it makes them highly motivated to work for you because you're giving away some of your power. You know, and that is a fundamental shift, I think that you have to have happen in order to lead and manage successfully in a virtual world. You have to give away your power, like the power for decision making the power to do a specific task, you don't want to do it anyway. I mean, you probably do, like when you first start doing this, so like, oh, nobody can put together a Facebook ad campaign like I can, you know, and then the first day I actually had somebody else do it. I was like, Whoa, they did something that I never would have done.
Unknown Speaker 5:53
And it's actually better. Wait a second.
Angela Ponsford 5:57
And then I was like, Wait a second. I'm supposed to be the expert here and then oh, Well, that's sort of the, that's the purpose of management leadership is to bring out the best in others. And to not do it yourself, you have greater influence as a manager, the more you delegate, the more you give your power away. Obviously, in the case of that, like a Facebook ad campaign, you don't want them to set it live. But you want to have a QC, which is like what we do all the time. And so tear 11 like, there's probably media buyers, you never even QC stuff anymore. Like they get to a certain level, where it's like, you don't have to because you've taught them all along the way and think about how much work that saves you total. And along with that, as well, like when you've instilled in them and that you trust them to do things. They also, I mean, quite often, a lot of our most senior media buyers still paying me just for a second pair of eyes. They know they don't have to, they know that I trust them to put things together but they also acknowledge that we're all human and sometimes things sometimes do do things wrong and That one when you give them more responsibility, what I found certainly as the it comes back up, it's like they don't I don't think I've ever had anybody go, Well, they trust me to do everything. I'm going to do all the things now. And I'm never going to ask again. It almost makes them more wanting to come back to you and go, Oh, I've done this, can you just give us a quick check over? So it's, it's reciprocated back to you in that trust and wanting to wanting to hear your opinion, too?
Ralph Burns 7:26
Yeah, yeah. And now you're collaborating, as opposed to just like telling people what to do. And I think that is the goal of management and leadership. It's like, it's so much more fun, unless you're a total control freak. You know, it's so much more fun to see other people do things that you used to do and they do them better or, you know, they have a different way of doing it. Maybe, you know, we have a lot of slps inside here. 11 a very specific ways to build a Facebook ad campaign, for example, but there's lots of individual variation of that there's lots of ways in which an employee can make that SAP That process unique to them and actually make it better. And as a remote manager as a virtual manager, like thinking about that, that's sort of the goal of this whole thing. That's why I think virtual companies can run so much better than in person physical offices, because I think that one thing, it's so basic, but I know a lot of my friends are having a lot of issues with it right now, because they're so controlling, you know, like, they need to do everything I say, and I need to look at everything that they do. It's like no release that let go of that. Make sure they don't screw it up, you know, have a quality control measure in place, but it's, it's a must, I think, in this, this environment.
Deacon Bradley 8:41
Let's say you weren't good at that skill already. Or maybe this is the first time you're hearing about the importance in a virtual environment. What might your life be like, if you had didn't have that mentality and you were more the hub and spoke model or Ralph, as you like to say, the tollbooth that all three must pass. through, you know, for quality, of course, but like, what would your life look like if you were a manager run and things like that virtually?
Ralph Burns 9:08
You're working 90 to 100 hours a week. And that's it. No, that's what I did to start, I wouldn't. I mean, I made all these mistakes. And, you know, now that we're in this environment, we try and sort of learn from each other. But the big thing is that, you know, I've been, you know, managing remote teams for like, 20 or 30 years now. So bit creating tier 11, in that image wasn't much of a stretch, but there was just now it's far different. I mean, you know, it's, it's our company, but the point is, is that, you know, when you first sort of the light goes on, the light bulb goes on over your head, and you say, all right, I should actually delegate. All of a sudden you're not working as many hours. You're not like as stressed out. Your people actually follow you and you're a better leader as a result of it. But making that trend is a hard thing to do. So I think it's a matter of if you love working 100 hours a week. I mean, I love my job, but I don't love it 100 hours a week. Love it
Angela Ponsford 10:08
Ralph Burns 10:10
Yeah, I mean, but, uh, yeah, that's what it was like, you know, to start. So I think that's, I don't know, I look at it, like hours worked kind of thing, but there's probably some more like quality things in it that are even more essential.
Deacon Bradley 10:27
Angela, you have been, you've had the really difficult task of kind of before we were really good at delegation. And before we were really good at training media buyers, you were kind of on the forefront of figuring out how can I delegate and push decisions down and have media buyers spend our customers money wisely, and all done the way that you would have done it at that same level of high quality? Was there a time when you weren't good at this? And I'm curious what your life looked like then just so other people might hear that and recognize Oh, that's the Maybe the tool I'm missing?
Angela Ponsford 11:01
Yeah, I'd say, to get to the point where you can delegate effectively and pass down those decisions, those decisions. It's like you Front Load it. So I think there is going to be an element of like Ralph said, you know, in the beginning, you front load your team with the people that you're working with. And then, you know, you're, you're being honest with them about, okay, like, this is this is how I would do it. How would you do it? You're having those discussions, and then you Front Load the team, and then you slowly pull back. And I mean, it's kind of classic is classic one minute manager, Ralph is like, isn't it like, I see, when I read that book. I was like, Ah, that's what Ralph does. That's, you know, and I think I read that book after I'd worked with you for about a year or something. And so I definitely see those steps. So if you haven't read one minute manager, I highly recommend reading that book. And yeah, your front loader and it is time consuming. And I've also had those you know, sometimes I've had Some direct reports that maybe you know, I've given responsibility to Airlie, I haven't done the process. And then that in itself causes more work further down the line, because then you realize there's mistakes or things that have happened that you haven't picked up on. And then that's even more work. So I would say just commit in the early phases. If you're new to remote working, working from home, commit in the early stages, to spend a little bit more time with people, make sure they understand what you're looking for. And then you will more quickly be able to pass things on and not be working all the errors of, you know, getting to the end of the day and going, ah, I haven't done that QC. I need to now spend an hour doing that QC that I didn't realize I had all those kind of things.
Ralph Burns 12:43
Yeah, yeah, I think Exactly. You're exactly right. It's like if you pull back on it like for a new employee, and they've never worked here. Howdy. You can't all of a sudden do this. Okay. Hey, you're hired. Now I'm going to lead you remotely by letting you do everything. Well, no, you need to get them through training. We have a really solid training program, and then do all that training. And then when you are managing them, like I remember, like the one of the first media buyers that I ever hired, I had a daily meeting with him every single day, five days a week, and then I drew it back to four, then to three, then to two, then to one. And by the time it was one, he was doing everything he had gone through all the training, I didn't need to go and do a daily meeting with him. So exactly like like and says, front end loaded as much as possible, because what you're doing is you're investing more time now. So you don't have to spend it later. And like when you're not spending it later. Like that's when the real magic happens, provided you train them the right way. I mean, we've we've had the opposite happen, like, Oh, we have a performance issue with the media buyer. I'm like, Well, did they do all the training? They were like,
Unknown Speaker 13:59
I don't think they did.
Ralph Burns 14:00
So, like checking your premises on that, like, Why doesn't he know how to add UTM? s? Did he ever do the training we go to the training board is like he didn't do the training. So how can we expect him to know to add that? Like, why is he at fault when we didn't train them? So it's like, make sure people go through their training first, work with them very closely and then withdraw like as much as you possibly can.
Deacon Bradley 14:26
Two things come to mind for me when I think about pushing decision making down and and the first one is a negative, which is like the symptom that when I'm not doing this, well, like the biggest symptom that I see, other than what you were saying, Ralph like overworked overstressed pile of stuff on your desk, like all of that stuff. Sure. The thing that I that I personally noticed the most was, I became like the log jam of things. And like things could be moving faster. They could be flown down river, but I hadn't put my stamp on it. I hadn't, you know, Given my feedback, and it was, so it was just sitting on my desk and you know, I'm so important. I've got this big stack of things that require my feedback to be blessed and move on. And like that's kind of the mindset to get out of. Not super not saying it's easy, but that was like the symptom that I noticed was like this growing stack of stuff. It's like, an easy way to relieve that pressure is by pushing the authority down on anything and everything that you can. And and of course, doing it the right way. Like like you guys were talking about with training and moving it along. You don't just hand the keys over to the Ferrari, you make sure they can drive it well for so that's the negative thing that comes to mind. On the positive side, I think of when I when I do this well, so story that I mentioned in the last episode, just because it's super fresh. This was like on our reporting stuff. And we've been, I was getting emails I happen to be the person who purchased super metrics. And so they were emailing me about our plan and licensing stuff and I'm like, gosh, I don't I don't know this, I just made the purchase, right? I have no idea how their licensing works or how we're using it. But suddenly it was like on my shoulders to solve this or it was gonna cut off. And that was something that I could push down to Vic, which I mentioned in the last episode, giving her that authority and all that stuff that comes with it. Not only did I am I no longer the log jam for that problem that I would have been, I don't have that big stack of to dues on my desk. But also, as you were mentioning, Ralph and Angela. That's a way to like almost grow new leaders as well, because now, not only did she do a great job with that, but I also taught her along with that, hey, when you do make a decision here, I need you to make this recommendation, tell the billing team, tell them what the cost difference is gonna be like just lay out all the stuff so she now knows how to make really good recommendations so that when we see them, we can kind of bless them and move on and it So cleared up the log jam made my life way easier. And I still don't understand super metrics licensing, and that's totally fine. That's okay. You don't have to,
Ralph Burns 17:08
I don't have to. But in that case, Vic loves doing that stuff to like, remember, like, you need to know the people that report to you. You really do like you put them in the position that they will best potentially succeed. So for somebody like Vic, she's very much structured that way. Like, I would never want to do super metrics, but like, what she does with it, and how it all comes out is so freakin cool. I have no idea how she does it, but do I really need to, and she enjoys doing it. So she feels empowered, as a result of it. And this isn't some tactic. It's like, it's just human interactions. Like if I have control over this, I'm given this responsibility. I now have a vested interest in its success. And she's going to do it to the best of her ability. Because she's you know, she's obviously smart and all these other things and she's a type A personality and These things going for super intelligent and understands these types of things. But it's like, when you put her in charge of that makes her feel good. And, like, I hate to say it, but like, isn't that kind of the goal of life, like doing something that you kind of like to do and you feel like you're in control? And I
Deacon Bradley 18:21
generally like doing things.
Angela Ponsford 18:22
Yeah. Especially work,
Ralph Burns 18:25
right. We don't like drudgery, you know, but, I mean, there is some drudgery that we all have to do. But the point is like, that is a work. You know, it's a very satisfactory thing for somebody like her to do. Well, maybe she'll listen to this podcast and be like, I actually really hate doing that route.
Angela Ponsford 18:45
Now, she loves that.
Deacon Bradley 18:46
Yeah, she does. So Ralph, you're talking about the importance of knowing your team knowing the people that work for you at at a at both a professional but also some personal things about them, too. Like we know that Vic really does love that stuff, and she thrives on it. She's Really good at it. One of the important things that I think we were all a little surprised that if I think back to when I was a new manager, I wasn't surprised. But now looking back, I'm all Oh, yeah. What is like one of those key things that you put in place as far as like meeting with people and understanding them knowing them like, Ralph, this is something that I would say you're unconsciously good at just weekly one on ones with your direct reports. Talk a little bit about that, and kind of your perspective on on that and what kind of what that tool is for.
Ralph Burns 19:32
Yeah, I think Anna can talk about this a lot as well. But that I didn't really realize how I don't know how to say this, like non obvious. It is like To me, it's like if you have somebody who reports to you have a meeting with them every week, at least once a week. Like in your guy's cases like daikon, you've obviously sort of changed your role a bit but we still meet we have one on ones What, three days a week, two days a week now. And the same thing do like we have three, like, maybe we'll go to two at some point. But at one point, we had five or four, you know, at one point before that it was like once every two weeks. So that's when you weren't like we sort of changed our hierarchy a little bit. But the point is, is like, just having a one on one with all your direct reports, is kind of the no brainer of the century when it comes to managing virtually, like, yeah, you're gonna have group calls with your team, we have all these other group calls, but they need that one on one time. They really do. And we can talk probably a lot about the one on ones but just the basic concept of having a one on one setting up a zoom call and Google calendar for a half hour every Wednesday at three o'clock, or every Monday at 1230. Like, it's like it's such a basic thing. And I didn't realize that this was so basic, because we have some new managers inside tier 11. And I was like, Well, what are you doing your one on ones with your You know, your people like, What do you mean? Like, well, you need to start doing that. And I was like, Okay, and now the issues that that manager is having are now bubbling up to my one on one, like, how do I deal with this situation that I found out in my one on one and now we're working together to solve problems, which is, you know, or, you know, capitalize on opportunities, that kind of thing. So, just the basic fact of having it is crucial.
Angela Ponsford 21:27
Yeah, and I think this is a little bit different. I'm trying to remember back to when I did work in a real office, you know, a real life office with other people. Is it been a long time, but I don't think I had a one on one and never boss. No, no, maybe once a month. I had an annual review. Yeah, right. Yeah, maybe totally. And this is a quite different it's, it's so important to meet one on one when you are working remotely, like just so important, and you don't have to take the whole time. I know most of mine are set for an hour. Or, you know, 15 minutes, but some, some of them, they're done in 30 minutes. It's like, Okay, we've got through what we needed to talk about, and we don't have to stay on for the times that great. We've just managed to save ourselves an extra 2025 minutes here, but it's just just getting on with people face to face. And you know, things come up that you often that you just weren't even expecting or anticipating. And that's, that's what they're for. You know, it's so that people aren't sitting there in silence and not knowing who to talk to.
Ralph Burns 22:30
Yeah, I mean, can we communication is so vital, and I think I'm trying to think back. I've never really worked in an office, but I guess I did once. Most of it was running sales teams. We had an office that I went to every now and then but I usually met the reps there and then we went out in the field. But the point is that if you're in an office environment, the one on one can be very easily done by just walking down the hallway and bumping into somebody or just popping in their office for like two minutes. You don't I mean, this is more set. It's more fun. Formal, like, we're gonna set this every single Wednesday kind of thing. And you got to do that because if you don't you just totally lose track of what's going on. And secondly, the issues fester so much more. So for example, we have a Friday call for our leadership team. And there's an issue section and there was no issues because I had dealt with them we had dealt with them on all our one on ones that week. So it's like they actually in you invest in you're much more expedient with getting resolution to stuff, you know, by doing it, you know, not in a group setting. I think it's just absolutely essential.
Deacon Bradley 23:37
If this is not a habit that you already have in place, maybe you're listening to this thinking, Oh, that I should be talking to my team or duh. What would you do in that first meeting? Are you showing up with an agenda? Or is there a magic question? Maybe you will learn from Google or something like that. But like, what is what do you do in those those meetings is when before you get the momentum, it's hard to know like It's like a blank piece of paper. Hmm.
Angela Ponsford 24:03
I've got two questions, then. I've got them stuck up on my wall over there. And so, two for me that are super important. What did you learn last week? And what was your big wins? And that's two easy ones that you could start with. Well, I say what did you learn last week? That's maybe not so easy for someone to answer, but you know, it starts a conversation with them.
Ralph Burns 24:26
It's a great way to start a meeting to talk about something positive. I don't do that as much in my one on ones and I probably should but we do them in our group calls. We always start off with something positive like we have for our Tuesday meetings we have like like the gratitude minute but it's I forget what
Angela Ponsford 24:45
the week the shout out
Ralph Burns 24:46
the weekly shout out, which is always positive. It's like, Wow, it's so cool. Like we had like 10 of them this week and they're amazing. And, you know, for our leadership meeting on Fridays, although we didn't do it today. really short agenda is, you know, employee, customer or business headlines, just like say something about somebody, it's typically it's another employee or whatever, something amazing that happened that week and it just sets the tone for that meeting. It's great. That's an hour call. So would I do that? If it was a half hour? I don't know. I might. But you know, for me, and I love to have that positive starter, like Anne says, but for me, I like I look at it. And I had this on, you know, the desk, my wall for years and years is, what can I do to help you? And that's management, I think, what do you need help with? What can I help you with? What can I do to make your job more effective? Are you more effective? So it's usually it's a list like what do you got, you know, problems issues, like what are you and you just kind of go through it there and like, for all of our one on ones, it's like, you're less than My List that's typically how we'll, we'll do it. That's a little bit more like, Alright, let's get right into it. But you know, there's some, you know, we'll talk about some personal stuff obviously before that, but that's my agenda. It doesn't like you can do it the way that that Angela does it, you can do it the way that I do it, do it, the way you're doing it. The point
Deacon Bradley 26:17
is, is do it.
Ralph Burns 26:19
The agenda is less important than the fact that you're actually going and doing a one on one with your direct report.
Deacon Bradley 26:26
Absolutely. The way that I started a lot of these, I think I take the same approach that you do Ralph with the lists, and I'll usually say so a lot of times, I'll show up to these with a few things that I need to talk to them about. It's now one important caveat here. We talked in the last episode about the importance of rapid feedback. So the thing on my list is never Oh, Angela, you've got a few black marks here. I need to go over from last week. Like no I, I've already given the negative feedback. We've talked about those. That's the rapid feedback. So when I get to the one on ones, if I have things to talk about, it's usually either something that I use one on ones a lot to get individualized feedback rather than feedback in a group. So if we were, if we were doing some big new initiative or something, and there's three people on the team that I'm meeting with that all have this impact them, I might ask each one of them in that private setting. Hey, here's the thing. I want to make sure you understand it. Do you have any questions about it? Or how does this impact you? What are you thinking? So I will usually have my list of stuff like that. And I'll usually kind of say, you know, hey, I've got this. I've got a few things that I want to talk about. But first, this is your meeting. What do you have for me this week, I want to make sure I've covered all of your stuff and will sometimes it's nothing, sometimes it's one or two things. I try to get them in the habit of bringing an agenda and like bringing things to the meeting, not just when I first started as a manager, it kind of was was more spectator ish, like people would show up to the one on ones like You can entertain me now or ask me some questions. Like, and I'm on the other side as a new manager thinking, I don't know what to do. Am I supposed to be entertaining them? Am I supposed to be bringing an agenda? So I got a lot of really good tips from the book radical candor. She has like a chapter on one on ones that helped me figure out what my style was and what I should be doing. But really, I try to just make it known. This is your meeting, person reporting to me. Please bring stuff to it. If you don't have anything, that's fine. I'll probably have some stuff too. And like you said are off. It's like your list my list. Let's, let's knock this stuff out.
Angela Ponsford 28:38
One thing that Ralph and I talked about recently, what someone one of my direct reports was coming to the meeting and they were seeing it more as just like a chicken. So like a chicken that they would do for a customer or something. Okay, now, here's the results. Everything's fine. Okay, CPA, and Ralph and I had a chat about this and Ralph Made reminded me that you know, these are these are coaching calls, they're essentially a coaching call for your direct report. And, you know, explain to this person that this is where I will get, you know, and you will get most value out of it, this is where you the direct report will get most value out of it rather than it just being a check in, and then both of us go in, or I didn't get much out of that, and I'm still not 100% sure where you're at. So I got it. The next time I got on that one on one. I was like, hey, okay, just want to reset what these these meetings are about. They're actually really about your development and coaching. Of course, I want to get a check in on your accounts and what's happening there, and if there's any issues, but ultimately, it's about how can we make you better and since we had that talk, Ralph, and then I, you know, talked to them on the call, because they're so much more productive. There's so much better and the this person is actively bringing more things to me now, because it was almost as if this barrier had been lifted and it seems obvious, but I'd never made it. explicitly clear to them what the purpose of the one on one was. So that's a really, really top tip if you're just starting to do this now.
Ralph Burns 30:10
Yeah, that's, that's super important. And because some people will perceive this is like, What's going on here? Why don't you want to have a one on one with me once a week? Like, can you say, well, this the reason for this is for this reason. And typically, you know, if you have like the your list, my list kind of meeting, which is the way that around a lot of these, you end up getting coaching and training embedded inside the lists. Yeah. Like, alright, well tell me about this challenge that you had with this, like, how did you approach that? Like when they said that to you, then it becomes like a coaching call within the context of we're getting stuff done at the same time, and those are the most fun calls from my perspective, but it's sometimes it's, you know, draw that out of you. Sometimes it's here's what I would do in that situation. I usually defer to the other Like how would you handle it kind of thing, which is a whole other like management thing. But those calls can be very flexible. And if it's just a half hour, and you, I typically will do it just for a half hour, especially for the guys right now, because most of you guys have like multiple meetings during the week, try and keep it really short and concise. Because of the time constraint, we get a lot of stuff done very quickly. And there's still plenty of time for just like, you know, generalized bullshit. And then, obviously, like some coaching stuff that goes along with it. So Hmm.
Deacon Bradley 31:34
One of my favorite uses of one on ones was to almost get on the other side of the desk, so to speak, and try to experience things from their side, which in a virtual team is much harder to do I think is like you don't see for example, if I assign a task to Angela, just making this up and I was in a physical office, I might see her over there with like this ridiculous stack of documents and like I leave to go Home and I'm like by Angela and she's like, got dinner on her desk. And I'm like, wow, apparently that work I gave her was insane. Like that was a ridiculous task. You would never see that in a virtual environment. And one on ones one of the things that I like to ask just because I'm like a perpetual workflow optimizer and and that's just kind of my nature. I always like to ask people what's taking up most of your time right now, like, look at this week, not a general ideal week or how you think things are supposed to be like, what do you do all day today? What was the annoying thing that was taken up like three hours and in the absence of like, big issues to hit on? I love having those conversations, because I've found a lot of stuff where I'm all you're doing what it takes how long and that's really hard to find in a virtual environment. And at the same time, just it helps keep that mindset of, of not being the I created this process. So people do the process. It's like Trying to experience the process from their side. And one on ones is a great place to do that. So that you can see, like, I found a lot of really stupid stuff that we've done a lot of it. My idea, though, is I'm talking to people, it's like, oh, yeah, wow, that's a that takes a lot of time. Hmm, maybe we don't do that anymore and sweep that off your desk. And well, let's find another way. And, and then, at the same time, just kind of thinking through this out loud. I'm gonna put all these pieces in my head together at once. But that's a lot of times like, it becomes collaborative. And my reports a lot have been the ones to solve those problems and have other things. And it all just kind of comes from trying to experience like, What's taking all your time right now? Did I give you something really stupid to do that's taking 10 hours and I thought it was 30 minutes, right? Yeah.
Angela Ponsford 33:55
Ralph Burns 33:57
And if that is the case, you can also say all right, well Obviously, I screwed up on that. But is there a way for us to do this, that it actually takes less time? What would you recommend? Like I had a call with one of my direct reports this week issue that he had was that one of his direct reports was spending an inordinate amount of time doing something he is terrible at doing. And I'm like, Well, okay, let's think about what's the solution. So I didn't have a solution in mind. But I asked him, I was like, What do you propose as the solution? In this case, it wasn't him taking the time. It's his direct reports. This is more like a coaching call. And then we went through like a bunch of different scenarios, like three scenarios, just like they do in the one minute manager. Hello. Got to read that book. And we came up with a solution, which I was like, Damn, it doesn't cost us any additional money either.
Deacon Bradley 34:46
That's gonna be the one link in the show notes. You're gonna go to the show notes. There's gonna be in giant bold letters, one minute manager, buy this and read it. Yeah. One of the last tips that we'd give as virtual man And this seems like it should go without saying but I think you have to say it in a virtual environment because it's so easy to not or to at least appear as not and that's taken interest in your reports personally. Like there people are on the calls and I think that's one of the hard things for me is my personality is is goal oriented. So I get on a call and I'm all let's accomplish the thing. And like I love chit chat and all that but it's so easy to sweep some of that stuff aside and and Ralph you were making a joke right before we jumped on like, if you're if Angela reports to you It shouldn't be a surprise later like that. She has twins so important part of Angela's life. So work
Ralph Burns 35:49
with Angela for five years. I didn't know she had twins. Like you're not really doing your job if that like SpaceX stuff like that. Yeah. Let's see.
Angela Ponsford 35:57
And, you know, they what those things will come up in Your meetings. But we were also talking that particularly if you use Slack, and you have a fun channel or whatever you see people sometimes post things about, you know, things that they've done about their kids. And it's just, you know, either just taking a little mental note about that. Or, even better, if you have just a little note, I use Evernote for easy note taking whatever your note taking tool of choice is, just make a quick note about like, the kids names, or their kids birthdays, or whatever it is that they're talking about. So they may not directly be telling you that thing. But if you are seeing things like that, if you're friends with them on Facebook, if you're following them on Instagram, you know, take notes of those little things. And just if they ever come up in conversation, then it just shows you actually do care about them as a person. And it's not just about you know, like getting this done getting this ad created or whatever line of business you're in.
Ralph Burns 36:55
Yeah, it's like you should know like the names of your direct reports, kids Like that sort of basic, though, I mean, I guess, but so many don't. You know, I,
Deacon Bradley 37:08
I know it's jazzy and Lily,
Ralph Burns 37:10
you know, it's g one and G two. It's like he just like, why wouldn't you know that but like so many managers, like one of the managers I had the last time I was fired, the final time I was fired. Had no idea what my kids names were. I knew what his kids names were because I was always trying to suck up to them. But you know, and move myself along in the corporate ladder. I can't believe I used to do that didn't work. So don't even try that. But the point is, is like he didn't even know like, he was a mediocre manager, really. And he would have a very challenging time in a virtual environment. But it's like that basic thing, like come on. So anyway, but I think it's, it's worth saying here.
Angela Ponsford 37:57
Yeah, cuz it doesn't it doesn't exist. obvious to people and certainly and sometimes in virtual environment, it's easier to find out that information just because people will write things down and then you can go back and search.
Ralph Burns 38:11
Right? I've done very searchable in black. Yeah. So true.
Deacon Bradley 38:17
That was a good tip that you mentioned, Angela, I use Evernote for my one on one notes, because I just have like a note for whoever I'm meeting with one on one, I'll put the date and I'll just like jot stuff in there. And it's a good place to come back to ask follow up stuff later. And I think that's where things get, make a bigger impact is virtually like you do actually learn. Now that you mentioned, Angela, I do think it's easier to learn about people because, I mean, you guys are looking at me in my home right now. And like, just popped into my mind, like I remember Vanessa always had the cats. It'd be like a cat fight or a cat on her. And so we're asking about our cats and you know, just kind of learning about people's lives because in a virtual environment, you're like seeing your literal Seeing into their home. And there might be like a kid climbing on me or something. And so in some ways, take those opportunities when they come up to ask about them Don't Don't be like the guy in the in the BBC thing that we've referenced before where the kids go in the room he's like pushing them out like this doesn't exist, get out of the camera. use those as like a little jumping off points to learn more about their lives and then circle back on it, jot it down and and it's it's been really effective way to develop genuine friendships that we're excited about. And I think it's made a really big impact on our team that I think a lot of us do this naturally. But like you mentioned, Ralph, not everybody does that naturally. And so I think it's important to point out in a virtual environment, if you're not intentional, or you think that's not something people do, you're gonna miss that opportunity.
Ralph Burns 39:52
And that's not to say like, try to be a different manager than you are. It's like, everyone has different personalities like don't Send me like, oh, suddenly I'm interested in your personal life. And I'm not the type of person that's interested in people's personalized like, you make, you don't, you don't have to, like conform to this if it doesn't feel natural, but I would say make an effort to become a little bit more personal with the people who report to because like we say all the time and you know, business is personal. And thankfully, you know, we've all seen the Godfather here, including our one Israeli media buyer who we didn't think he had seen any movies but they say business, it's not personal, it's crap. It is personal, especially when you're looking into people's homes, on zoom calls, it's even more personal. So, but there's a fine line to which I'm sure we can probably do a very long episode on that as well.
Deacon Bradley 40:50
That'd be a good one. Because when one of our our team recently like we promoted somebody to be a new manager, and I remember in my one on one with them That was one of the questions like, should I be asking personal questions? I don't know how to do this. So I guess the the quick tip for today is, is do it the way you normally would in real life?
Ralph Burns 41:15
What what feels natural, I think Yeah,
Angela Ponsford 41:18
yeah, just don't forget about it because your virtual right.
Deacon Bradley 41:27
Thanks for joining us today on virtual business podcasts we've covered six, seven, I can't even remember how many tips we've gone through for virtual managers. And as you get a sense, as you're listening to this, we're just scratching the surface here that each one of these is so deep and we will go deeper on these. So the ones that kind of piqued your interest once you have questions about or if it's sparked some conversations, drop us a note we'd love to hear about and we'd love to expand on it more. Head on over to get to the virtual business podcast comm click the link in the show notes and we've developed A handful of guides for virtual teams and virtual business leaders. So we've got one on slack out already. It's the same SLP that we use in our agency, total game changer for us made it really efficient, effective and efficient, instead of like a total disaster. I've also got one on zoom, probably making some more on the way so get insider access to all of that stuff at Virtual Business podcast.com Click insider access at the top. See you next week. Yeah,
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
Don’t stress about the agenda. Having a great agenda for a 1-on-1 is way less important than just doing the 1-on-1 in the first place. Remember, these are coaching calls.
If you’re short on ideas or need a jump start to get over that “blank paper” fear, here are some of our favorite questions.
Ang’s favorite questions:
- What did you learn last week?
- What were your big wins?
Deacon’s favorite questions:
- Tell me about your week this week. What’s taking most of your time?
- [describe problem], what are we missing?
Ralph’s favorite questions:
- What can I do to help you?
- What do you have today? Problems, issues, etc.