People Management

Everyone at Cantilever should have an easily identifiable manager. If you are an internal Cantilever team member and don’t know who your manager is, something went wrong. Please talk to the CEO.

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, delighters, 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.

Each team member should have a private Basecamp project with their manager. This project houses 1:1 and quarterly review notes, along with aspiration and feedback trackers.


Prior to the report’s start date, you should onboard them. After a hire, HR onboarding will occur. As their last step, HR will reach out to the manager to start Manager Onboarding.

However, there are three main kinds of communication a manager and team member should have to stay on track:

Impromptu Feedback

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

Team Members should also feel free to issue feedback to their managers regularly, but it is not mandatory to offer unprompted feedback. Managers should proactively request feedback and take it to heart. During each quarterly report, the team member is required to provide at least one piece of advice for the Manager to take to heart.

Feedback and corresponding decisions or action items should be logged in the Team Member’s Feedback Tracker. Feedback from the Team Member to the manager can be logged in the same place and labeled as such.

For our guide on giving feedback check out our procedure: Giving Feedback

1:1 Meetings

As a Manager, you can decide how often you would like to have 1:1's with your team members. Sometimes it's helpful to have more meetings, and other times it's helpful to have less. For most full-time team members, a 15 minute 1:1 once a week is a good cadence. 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 private Basecamp project message board.

Check out our procedure for running 1:1's: 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.

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.
  • Project Questions. If a Team Member has a question about a project, they should start with the Project Manager of that task/overall project. The project manager and a Team Member's manager are not always the same person (but they often are).
  • 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 alert the PM on any projects they are a part of.
  • 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.

Escalation and De-escalation
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