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People Management [WIP]

All Core Team members have a manager.

The manager’s job is to help each team member do their best. They do this by proactively seeking ways to make the job fit the person as well as possible, and by finding ways for the person to apply Cantilever’s Values using their unique skill set. Everyone at Cantilever is here for a reason – they exhibit some passion for these values already, and the manager’s job is to harness that.

The manager is also a sounding board for feedback — especially feedback about how things could be done better here — but also including insight into one’s own mindset, stresses, annoyances, delights, etc.

Our management style is heavily influenced by the Manager Tools group (which produces a podcast and conferences on the topic). You can read their baseline guidance on their website and encourage you to check out the podcast. The book Radical Candor by Kim Scott is also a great read for managers who want to do a good job.

The manager should create a private Notion space with which to track feedback, notes, and private discussions between them.

Manager Duties

  • Onboarding. The Ops team runs onboardings, but there are specific steps that the manager must complete. Ops will assign these during the process.
  • Feedback. Managers should give timely, impromptu feedback throughout the week, and should ensure that they provide at least one piece of feedback per week for their reports, ideally in the report’s personal file.
  • 1:1 meetings. Managers should coordinate and run 1:1s.
  • Schedule monitoring. Managers should understand what their reports’ schedules are like and when they are off.

Managing Contributors

Contributors do not have a “Manager” but do have a “primary contact”. The relationship between a Contributor and their Primary Contact is similar to a Manager/Report relationship within the Core Team, but is less intensive.

Manager Duty
for… Core Team Member
for… Contributor
1:1 meetings?
Impromptu Feedback?
Weekly Feedback requirement?
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Quarterly Reviews?
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Time off requests?
🚫. Contributors don’t need to log time off requests, they should simply not accept work during that time.

Feedback

Managers should react quickly to extraordinary events (both positive and negative), providing immediate feedback by Slack or synchronously. Negative feedback should always be delivered in private.

Team member should also provide regular feedback to their managers. Upward feedback may be about the manager themselves, or it may be about broader company-wide issues.

Feedback and corresponding decisions or action items in both directions should be logged in the Team Member’s Notion space.

Our standard format for feedback is a sentence with this structure:

“Hey [Person], When you [Behavior], it [Effect]. [Can you do it differently next time/Keep it up!]

1:1s

As a Manager/Primary Contact, you can decide how frequently you want to have 1:1s. Generally, the less time spent on 1:1s the better, since that time costs money on both sides. However, it’s imperative that people have the support they need to do a great job. As a general guideline, here is a matrix of how frequently to run 1:1s based on the person’s hours:

  • Full time: 30 minutes once a week
  • 20+ hours/week: 15 minutes once a week
  • 10+ hours/week: 15 minutes every other week
  • <10 hours/week: 15 minutes once a month

This focuses both on what is happening in the team member’s life, and at work, from both sides. There are three topics:

  • How’s life?
  • How’s work, Team Member?
  • How’s work, Manager?

The notes from the meeting should go in the Team Member’s Notion space.

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Check out our advisor Jason’s guide for running a 1:1.

Quarterly Reviews

Once per quarter, in lieu of a regularly-scheduled 1:1, each Team Member should have a formal quarterly review. The quarterly is a chance to connect on nuts-and-bolts performance, measure results, and set expectations and set aspirations. It is also a chance to discuss long-term vision, expectations, and hopes.

Compensation and roles can be discussed at any time, but quarterlies are especially opportune times to bring up struggles or disappointments about your situation. The Manager should make sure to set Quarterly aspirations with each team member during the Quarterly, as well as correct performance issues from the previous quarter. Following the TextExpander snippets (which are listed in the procedure) is a good way to make sure you are completing your Quarterly properly.

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Check out our procedure on quarterly meetings: Running a Quarterly

Other Topics that Fall Under the Responsibilities of Managers

  • Equipment Needs. Equipment is a manager question and is always available as needed. Team Members should talk with their managers about equipment needs to discuss procurement and/or budgets.
  • Scheduling. It is important for Team Members to make sure that their manager knows when they will be on vacation or unavailable for more than 24 hours. They should also update the team OOO calendar project in Asana.
  • Independent Projects. If a Team Member is the Project Manager of a task/project and they have questions, they should start with their manager for conferment. If their manager does not have an answer, they can point them to the next person who might be able to answer their question. If a Team Member has questions about time budgets for the independent project that they are working on, they should talk with their manager.