How One on Ones Can Supercharge Your Team
- 69% of managers are afraid to communicate with their team: https://getlighthouse.com/blog/afraid-at-work-communication-feedback/
- Our complete guide to 1 on 1s (starting, making the most of them, etc):
- Some of our popular remote-specific advice:
- 12 things you didn’t plan for when you hire remote: https://getlighthouse.com/blog/didnt-plan-hiring-remote-employees/
- 10 tips for managing remote employees: https://getlighthouse.com/blog/10-tips-manage-remote-employees/
- And challenges with partially remote teams: https://getlighthouse.com/blog/partially-remote-team-managing-challenges/
[00:00:00] Jevin: [00:00:00] Welcome back to building remote teams. I am here with Jason Evanish from Lighthouse.,
[00:00:05] Jason: [00:00:05] Hey Jevin and thank you for having me today.
[00:00:09] Jevin: [00:00:09] It’s a real pleasure! I’ve used your software Jason on teams that have had before and it’s worked out super well for me before now.
[00:00:16] We’re not here to just promote Lighthouse, really, although I think it’s great so you should check it out. Tell me a little bit about what you do and tell me a little bit about Lighthouse.
[00:00:25]Jason: [00:00:25] I am co-founder of Lighthouse. We’re software to help people be better managers started about five years ago.
[00:00:32]really trying to scratch my itch realize that there was a handful of things that I could do as a manager that would really be a huge impact on how my employees my team members people work with me felt about work, but it wasn’t always easy to be consistent. And so they do with lighthouses help you be more consistent.
[00:00:47] How do you have a really awesome and amazing one-on-one where you’re accountable and they’re accountable and you talk about the right things. How do you help them with their Career Development and things like that? And so what we did is we kind of took what I learned and productized that and so [00:01:00] the products evolved over the years.
[00:01:01] One of the cool things is we find that remote is even harder to manage people and I’m sure we’ll get into that today, but we’ve learned a lot from the people especially that manage remote teams that there’s a few extra challenges there and so really excited to be on the podcast that you kind of talk about what some of those challenges are and what are some of the common things you can do as a manager whether your remote or not.
[00:01:19] Jevin: [00:01:19] That sounds great. So, where are you calling in from today Jason?
[00:01:23]Jason: [00:01:23] So I am in New York City. I was previously living in San Francisco decided to make the move back to the east coast where I’m from and the team is distributed. So we’re practicing what we preach with some of this remote stuff our team as well.
[00:01:35] Jevin: [00:01:35] Nice, and so you’re in like a home office or you can co-worker one of the many co-working spaces in New York. Where are you at? What do you see when you look around?
[00:01:43] Jason: [00:01:43] So an interesting side effect that I’ve discovered since moving to New York is that a common perk in offices is dogs, and I’m allergic to dogs. So I had planned to be in in co-working spaces. But so many of them have dogs running around that I’m working out of the home [00:02:00] office or I go to coffee shops quite a bit when I don’t have calls like this and don’t need to worry about it being quiet.
[00:02:05] Jevin: [00:02:05] Yeah, I have that same issue. I’m allergic to essentially the entire environment and I’ve like a 15-minute bike ride to my co-working space and then I’m like sneezing and stuff, but we don’t have dogs and cats and that would that’s a big that’s a big issue for me and so that’s interesting to hear from other people have similar issues.
[00:02:23] Jason, you your software are primarily or at least seems to be focused around managing one-on-ones and all maybe had some sort of meeting with a manager. We’ve talked about various things. Can you tell me about the different types of maybe what people call one-on-ones and then maybe what you call one-on-ones and why you’re a proponent
[00:02:45] Jason: [00:02:45] Well, I think of one-on-ones is the Swiss army knife for the manager. There’s so many things you should do as a manager that you never get around to that like one-on-ones are a fantastic place to wedge. All those in I think the mistake managers m ke is that they either discount having the [00:03:00] meetings at all, or they don’t realize all the things they could cover so they cover a very narrow margin.
[00:03:04] For instance managers will make their one-on-one status updates to talk about projects, but that’s super inefficient because the rest of the team isn’t in the room, and so now you have to play telephone individually everyone on your team. It’s really an. And it eats up all this time. You could do a whole bunch of other things and so, you know some of the different topics that we try and tell managers that they should talk about things like, you know, building rapport and trust because if you don’t have that foundation of them feeling like you care about them, it’s gonna be really hard for them to come to you with problems and questions and in want to answer things you ask them honestly, but even beyond that, you know, you want to talk about their career goals because one of the leading ways I saw people in the valley leave work is this idea of I really like my co-workers. I’ve challenging work. I’m super happy, but I’m kind of getting bored of the things I do every day. And if the manager isn’t having a regular conversation about that topic, they’ll think everything is all good. Right up until one of their friends is like “I’m at this new hot start up and we’re doing this cool other thing, [00:04:00] you know, we could totally use someone like you” and they start thinking “you know, this would be a really interesting new challenge and they have all the same perks that the other company.”
[00:04:07] Why don’t I jump over there? And then they lose the person because they thought that talking once a year performance review was enough. So like talking about your career as. It’s also good to give and receive feedback, you know to coach them or to hear from them how you or the team can improve it’s also great for talking about how the company can improve, you know, especially with the remote work when you have partially remote teams.
[00:04:25] It’s super helpful to check in and make sure people feel like they’re in the in the loop or find out where they feel like, they’re disconnected from the rest of the team because they’re not in the office to hear everything and then of course you also do things like check-in on their happiness. Or you know again like specifically focusing on that, you know special things specific to them.
[00:04:42] So whether it’s remote or you know, diversity kind of question or anything that’s unique to them that you want to make sure is ok, when else you’re going to talk about it. Well one on ones is a great time to safely talk about it and not have it feel like it’s a huge big deal where your scheduling a separate meeting for it.
[00:04:56]Jevin: [00:04:56] Now you’re saying it’s a safe place now, managers that I know or, that [00:05:00] I’ve talked to you about how do they manage their employees, it feels like there’s this this tension or this reluctance to talk to their employees because of potential conflict that could happen where maybe people talk about them being unhappy or you know, but manages just shy away from these meetings for one reason or another.
[00:05:18]Why is it so hard for managers to have these more informal, asking questions your employees and seeing where they’re at and trying to build rapport but like why are people doing this?
[00:05:28]Jason: [00:05:28] I think some of its fear so like I remember there was a study a couple years ago.
[00:05:32] I saw that just like really captured it. Well and basically what it found was sixty-nine percent of managers say there’s something about their role as leader that makes them uncomfortable communicating with their employees. So 7 out of 10 managers are kind of afraid to talk about certain things with their team. They feel like it’s taboo and I’ll be honest with you, I get that feeling sometimes too. And it’s always like this little like fight or flight fear thought that you have in your head and you imagine the worst case scenario what could happen if you have that conversation with them and it’s always worse than it really [00:06:00] is and the thing is your team feels that same way about different issues.
[00:06:03] Sometimes the same thing sometimes different ones. But if you actually embrace and have the conversation over time you start to realize that you’re making mountains out of mole hill. And they’re not that big a deal, but if you let them fester, then they will become a big deal and then they’re much harder to deal with, you know a small issue time, you know can be a big one like to two team members you had a disagreement in a meeting. They may have already shook hands in forgot or they may be a little upset over it if you talk about it and work it out with them, then it’s nothing in their fine. But if you let it go then that can start to become regular sniping in meetings. It could be calm them refusing to work together and eventually people taking sides on the team and somebody’s got to go. So it’s all about this idea that like if you fix problems when they’re small as a leader a lot of problems won’t happen or it won’t get to a point where you really have anything to fear at all.
[00:06:48] So when it is just a little thing that’s when you should tackle it and then you don’t have anything to be afraid about but I think that a lot of people are scarred by the things that maybe they are previous manager procrastinated on and saw when it got [00:07:00] messy and ugly and you just need to embrace that fear and tackle it because if you tackle it early it won’t ever get that bad at all and in fact the team of the going of course, yeah. Sure. You know what? I should go talk to Joe about what happened in that conversation. I was a little I was a little snippy there, you know, and I shouldn’t be or you know, maybe it’s like oh, yeah, you know what? Why don’t we sit down and hash it out and I’m sure we can come to an understanding. I’m glad you pushed me to do that. Like that’s part of what you need to do as a leader.
[00:07:25] Jevin: [00:07:25] So you’re saying that people could like managers could be just be projecting or carrying over previous baggage from other poor experiences that they’ve had as an employee or working with the manager and that they’re carrying it on and that’s maybe why the reluctance to meet with their employees because they take this is how it’s done.
[00:07:40]Jason: [00:07:40] Oh, yeah, I think we’re all driven by the experiences we have I think we bring it in our personal relationships obviously and we are bringing our professional ones.
[00:07:49] And so even if you keep those two worlds separate. Just like, you know a past relationship may affect a future relationship you have with somebody in your personal life the same thing can happen in work things that you experienced in the past job [00:08:00] will impact you in a new job. Now, I think the best managers look at mistakes and things that happen as scars and they’ll say you know what that thing that happened to me as an employee, I’m never going to do that to my team. And so they can use that as a growth opportunity. But I think other people up kind of taking some of those experiences and they and instead they scar them and they’re afraid like I want to avoid that at all cost and so by having that fear of avoiding often you end up creating the exact environment that creates it again.
[00:08:25]Jevin: [00:08:25] So, alright, I get it. So I think all of us believe that okay get catching problems early is less expensive in every measure than catching something late. So how often then do you recommend having these one-on-ones as you’re advocating for them with your team members like a manager with an employee.
[00:08:42] Jason: [00:08:42] So I think you can be flexible in these. I think it’s not one-size-fits-all management, you know, if you have somebody on your team that you’ve been working with for like five or ten years and you’re really good friends outside of work and you guys just think on the same level and you know, your strengths and weaknesses, you can probably meet with this person like once a [00:09:00] month and you’re probably all good except for when maybe something important’s coming up and you want to be more often.
[00:09:05] However, for a lot of other people there are specific situations where weekly makes sense. So if someone is brand-new and your team, I don’t care how experienced they are how well, you know them for the first couple of months. You should be meeting weekly with them because there’s gonna be questions your culture is different than the last job.
[00:09:19] They had the responsibilities may be different than the job description, you know, getting used to the rest of the team finding the bathroom like learning the cultural norms and normes. There’s so many things to talk about when somebody’s new on a team that you should spend a lot of time with them.
[00:09:32] And then obviously if you have an underperformer you want to meet with them weekly because you need to stay on top of them until the behavior changes then if somebody’s new in a roller position, so one of the terms that we teach people a lot of lighthouses is “Task, Relevance and Maturity”, it’s a term for Andy Grove’s book high output management, which is like the greatest leadership book ever written and in it, what a scroll of maturity is about is instead of judging people by them as a whole like
[00:09:55] “Hey Jevin’s a fantastic engineer. We should trust him at everything.”
[00:09:58] You say “No [00:10:00] Jevin’s a really good back in engineer and he’s pretty good at a few of these front-end things. Well, if we put him on this new front end project in React, well, he hasn’t done a lot in React so we should we should be a little more hands-on to support him.”
[00:10:12] And so the idea is that you evaluate People based on individual tasks. You’re giving them not by the person as a whole because somebody could be really really good at something and you can be hands-off there and they could be really new it’s something you should be really Hands-On and support them and they’ll want the support there
[00:10:26]Jevin: [00:10:26] You’re breaking up kind of there their whole job responsibilities, character into these kind of many many parts and making sure that they’re competent in each of them, and for those things that maybe they need to grow, you just got more support.
[00:10:38]Jason: [00:10:38] Exactly. So you want to be more supportive of them and one of the best ways to support them is your one-on-one because it’s a time you’re with them isolated.
[00:10:45]You’re with them privately. You can ask questions. They know they’re set time and it doesn’t make a mountain out of a molehill. So like if I’m your manager and out of the blue I say hey, we need to have a call Jevin that’s going to probably be a little more nerve-racking than if [00:11:00] I’m just in the middle of the one-on-one and say oh Jevin and I don’t know if you noticed but I put this on the agenda.
[00:11:04] I’d like to spend a few minutes talking about this. You know, if it’s just part of an agenda of a larger conversation, it doesn’t feel like a big deal. But if I suddenly say, hey we need to talk about this project. When can we talk today? You know suddenly you can be like, oh what’s wrong you get that sinking feeling.
[00:11:17] So the one I wanted to be in a way to make things feel not as severe because you just used to of course, we do these things in this meeting and this is just one of many things we’ll talk about
[00:11:27] Jevin: [00:11:27] Nice that makes sense. Now in the context of remote teams. It sounds like it sounds like you’re a big fat advocate for these one-on-one. kind of company or organization makes sense. But are they you know for remote teams. Are they more important less important? How does that change the dynamic?
[00:11:43] Jason: [00:11:43] They are even more important remotely as if anyone’s been following kind of the explosion of popularity of remote work as well as all the content now that people are putting out like we are well as a lot of other people that are putting out about remote work now. You’ll notice that an overarching theme of all the [00:12:00] miscommunication because all the little things you do in your office don’t exist when your remote so all those little conversations that you could have don’t work as well. So like. When I used to live in San Francisco and we had an office as a team, I could literally walk out of a conference room after talking to a customer and the guys would see that I had finished and say oh, hey Jason, how is the customer call on I say all is great.
[00:12:21] I learned dada dada dada dada and I would go over those handful of things. I don’t get to do that anymore. They don’t even like other than if they were watching my status and Slack. They don’t know what I’m doing when I’m doing it, and I don’t have that natural conversation breaks talk to him. And I don’t know when they’re not busy to talk to him. So, you know, I have to be more proactive about certain conversations whether it be just posting in a slack Channel what those findings were or using the one-on-one to answer more questions at that like normally would have other times for you know, you can call it osmosis to talk about it.
[00:12:51] So I think when your remote, communications even harder there’s more you need to learn on the fly, there’s more questions that people can have and there’s more information you [00:13:00] need to disseminate and so while you shouldn’t only and solely rely on one-on-ones to accomplish that boy one-on-ones are great stopgap for that.
[00:13:08] They’re a great way to fill in those gaps and ask the questions that will help you iterate on your communication process so that it gets better. So everybody feels included everybody feels like they’re hurt and everyone feels like they know what’s going on.
[00:13:20] Jevin: [00:13:20] That makes sense. So if so if I understand what you’re saying is as a remote team just because communication is something we have to work at more, one-on-ones is a good tool to be able to have in your tool belt to be sure that everyone’s feeling included and getting the information they need maybe otherwise they’re having a harder time.
[00:13:40] Jason: [00:13:40] Yeah, it’s a proactive way to always be checking in to make sure the communication that you have is good enough and then it’s also a backstop against you know things slipping too much so you don’t want to give all your company updates in your one-on-ones. But if somebody on your team feels like they missed some of the things you were trying to get across in your company update.
[00:13:58] The one I want is a [00:14:00] perfect time to fill in those gaps and then hopefully go back to your other communication process. So your say your remote all hands and realize what you need to iterate on. So people get it more like maybe it’s also not only go over things and slides actually send the slides out afterwards so people can review them again because people don’t absorb everything the first time they see it, you know, you literate your way to getting there but the one on one is is thing a great way to kind of catch. Those things and learn what else you need to possibly improve in other areas. So I guess don’t rely on it. Don’t use it as a crutch, but it’s a fantastic way to make sure nothing slips too far.
[00:14:32] Jevin: [00:14:32] That makes sense. I spend a lot of time helping companies become remote friendly or remote first. So whether its traditional company they want to be able to have policies that they can help them their current employees work remotely or they want to start to scale and hire people externally , so I talked to a lot of Founders and one thing that I find is very common is Founders say or you know managers say I just don’t trust my employees to work remotely. I don’t know if they’re going to be doing their work at home. I [00:15:00] don’t know if they’re getting more productive less productive.
[00:15:02]So as we talk about one-on-ones is tool to build trust like maybe more generally can you do as an employer as a manager to help develop that trust so that you can feel free to let them work and home or from anywhere.
[00:15:18] Jason: [00:15:18] Yeah, I think there’s a few pieces of ways we can kind of dive into this.
[00:15:22] So the first one is that you should hire people you can trust because if someone is only as trustworthy as you standing over them making sure they do their work that’s not very scalable. And so I think if you are worried about that for a number of people on your team, then you may need to make changes on your team. Because how loyal is that person really to what you’re trying to accomplish if the only thing that’s making them work is you watching them have a button a seat, you know, I think that you end up having a lot of other problems that you’re not prepared for. If you’re in a position where you hired people you don’t trust [00:16:00] because that’s going to be reflected then in how you share information how you manage people?
[00:16:06] And unfortunately, it can be very easy where if there’s two or three people on your team. You don’t trust but you do trust six or seven. Unfortunately, some of your behaviors are probably going to be that you treat everybody like you don’t trust them. And so that ends up hurting the people you won’t you want and deserve to be trusted. And so I guess the first thing I would say is you want to have people you should hire people you can trust. you know that means looking for people that do they do what they say. They do do they follow through if somebody likes say you have an interview with somebody and they say, oh, yeah, I’ll follow up and send you that link or they tell you something like and they mention like some podcast some you say cool, can you please send that to me? I’d love to check it out afterwards. Do they actually send it or how long does it take for them to send? In my experience little signs in the area often turn into big signs on the job. And so looking to see how they handle themselves in that process is a great way to make sure you can trust them or potentially even doing a [00:17:00] “try before you buy” so like a lighthouse we do trial projects with everybody. You know, we’ll do a small paid contract project to make sure that this person is you know a good fit for us. And so if it doesn’t work, hey, you know what you get $500 or something for a good day’s work and we’ll part ways and we got a little bit of work out of you and we’re happy. Or if it works out cool, now you’re coming on board. It’s all good. And you know on top of your paycheck you’re going to get at the end of the month, you know, we’re going to give you your hourly rate we gave you for the day or whatever or whatever we did is a test project.
[00:17:28] And so, you know, there’s a few ways to get around that but once you have them involved, then you want to act with trust and you want to have people you can trust and you know, I think that comes down to kind of a culture of ownership and accountability.
[00:17:41] So you hold them to outcomes and commitments you trust them to get the work done for them to Define with autonomy how they’re going to do it. So you work with them on you know, what is the future going to look like? What is the task? They need to get done. But leave that up to them on how they’re going to get it done with an agreed upon time when it’s going to be done.
[00:17:58] And so you’ll hold them [00:18:00] to when they said they do that thing by but not worry as much about when exactly they’re working and to do it.
[00:18:06]Jevin: [00:18:06] Got it. So I think I mean it’s hard to know in advance. You know, whether this is someone you’re going to be able to trust as you said, maybe there’s a little signs, but certainly if the person has been working in your company or not. You’ll have a strong sense whether you can trust the person or not and whether or not regardless of how they’re actually going to perform remotely whether you’re actually going to trust them to be able to do that job based on their existing performance that makes sense and and whether they’re actually accountable and following through with what they say they’ll do.
[00:18:36] Where does it where’s that breakdown of trust to say like hey, yeah, you’re fine to go and work remotely.
[00:18:43] Jason: [00:18:43] So, I guess are you talking about a company hiring their first remote person and the remote person is never been in working in the office. Are you talking about companies where maybe some employees have really long commute and they like to only come in the office like part of the time.
[00:18:57] Jevin: [00:18:57] Yeah, let’s talk about the list. mean both are valuable, but [00:19:00] let’s talk about the latter’s because I’m you know, I think that’s important for companies to start having a remote policy internally to get used to it and iron out like how it looks like for them to be to be enabled to hire people externally so they can just slide right into that existing kind of remote culture.
[00:19:17] Jason: [00:19:17] Sure. So I seen a lot of companies dip their toe in the water with them. Based on this kind of thing. So, you know some of the people they hire, you know with the cost of living and the way that every city is not building enough housing for everybody who wants to live in the city.
[00:19:30] You see that anybody who starts a family generally has to move out of the city, but all the jobs are in the city. So people end up having very long commutes. know New York City. It’s nice that they have better Transit than San Francisco did. But that also means that some people really want commutes.
[00:19:46] You know, I’ve known I’ve met people since I got here who are commuting from Connecticut who are commuting from Jersey or Community commuting from, you know, New York state will say and they all have commutes that are anything from an hour to [00:20:00] hour and a half each way. That’s a lot of life lost.
[00:20:03] And so for those people that’s not the most fun thing, even if you let them work while they’re on the train and they’re tethered and you can see they’re on slack and they’re doing things like that’s still a really long and unhappy commute. So those people often lobby to say, “hey, can I work from home some days” and you know with the distraction of open offices and stuff it can actually be a net gain if you make those remote days kind of no meeting days so that Lino your engineer can put his head down and really just.
[00:20:28] Focus on his work or you know someone in your data science team can just analyze it and not worry about a bunch of meetings interrupting their flow, you know, that can be really powerful and so, you know one way the team companies I’ve seen have it work is dip your toe in the water. You know what? “We’re going to no meeting Wednesday and because it’s no meeting you don’t have to come in the office if you don’t want to but yes, we expect you to work we expect of anybody pings you during the day you’re available.”
[00:20:53]I think those are fair expectations and you can see how it goes and starts. Build that trust where you can get confidence say, well, [00:21:00] you know what? Let’s look at commit history. Look at let’s look at pull requests and let’s see what work did or didn’t get done. I’ve “definitely heard of companies where you know, the number of commits is much higher on the work from home days and it’s because the engineers can just sit down and focus and they’re not getting interrupted every couple hours when they were mid-flow doing their work, so I think you can.
[00:21:22] You can dip your toe in the water and then look at the output of your team to see if it got better or worse. If it got better ask the team. “Hey what was different about getting to work from home? Oh, well, you know without the commute I actually worked in extra hour and you know, I was able to really focus on this certain problem.”
[00:21:37] And you know when I got stuck I took a walk and came back and I figured it out like and you just start hearing these stories from your team at work or if it doesn’t work and again talk about anyone with your team you start to hear from was like well, I thought working from home will be great. But it turns out you know, kids running around there and was distracting in the dog came in and then you happen to look I’ve heard this like some people think we’re working on be great and then they work from home and they’re like: “this is [00:22:00] terrible. I can’t do this.”
[00:22:01] So I think like if you’re thinking about trying it or you think about doing it try it first, see how it goes one day a week or two days a week let some of your team work from home who have long commutes or other people who think they would benefit from it and literally try and measure.
[00:22:15] Look for ways to see how it went both by qualitatively asking your team and quantitatively looking at things of like what kinds of things got done. You know, what got done yesterday you know:
[00:22:25] * was there a more or less activity in slack
[00:22:27] * were they’re more or less commits and pull requests from the engineering team
[00:22:31] * were there more or less blog post written by the marketing team
[00:22:33]look at outcomes, you know, you’re not looking for clock punching you’re looking for results and like if they think they’ll get more focused work done there see if they really did.
[00:22:42] I definitely also know people who use work from home as a vacation day. So like, you know, there is kind of two sides to that coin and you won’t know until you take a look.
[00:22:50] Jevin: [00:22:50] Yeah, I was talking to a guy the other day and you know, he’s an HR professional and when he initially went remote he said he was watching Maury Povich [00:23:00] for the first three weeks and just answering light email.
[00:23:03] And then he realizes like man. Okay. I need I really need to get things done and then he just figured out like for him how to make it work and you hunkered down and put on pants and and got his work done. But but certainly there is that it is not for everyone and I think you know we talked about. Link from run Hoover.
[00:23:20] When you when you posted this since ask people online about on Twitter about you know, what works for them and remotely I think it’s I think it’s a big it’s a common theme, although the research that I’ve looked at is people who self-select to work remotely. There’s a higher productivity.
[00:23:34]Individuals overall, you know, yes lots of work in the office. They need that as part of their routine for for any number of reasons. They just like it they like to they like social element or maybe they have distractions at home. They have a dog that needs walking every 20 minutes or you know, I’ve been at home for three maternity leaves with my wife at home. And so, you know, there are challenges that exist in that for sure.
[00:23:56] Jason: [00:23:56] Oh, yeah. I mean that’s part of the reason I like to when I don’t have called go to [00:24:00] coffee shops because I know I’m more focused there can get some work done at home. I get calls or easy and nice and relatively quiet but coffee shops definitely giving me more energy just being around other people even if I really am not like talking or anything. I just like. Having that physical space somewhere else to go in go and do things.
[00:24:18] Jevin: [00:24:18] Hmm one. didn’t know Riley seminar couple weeks ago, and there were about 200 people there and we’re talking about how to succeed as a remote employee and a number of people brought up that they feel they’re, you know left behind with their you know in their manager forgets about them.
[00:24:35]When they’re in this hybrid team, so we have some people who are in the office where the manager is and this you have a remote employee who’s at home and working away quite productive, but they feel that they’re really left out and forgotten by their manager. What and let’s assume that maybe they don’t have frequent one-on-ones. What can they what can they do about that?
[00:24:55] Jason: [00:24:55] I think being proactive is the first thing so, you know, you have to ask so I [00:25:00] remember a past job. We were partially remote. So we had an office in San Francisco. We had people remote all over the country. Our lead designer was in Australia.
[00:25:10] So we had a lot of different things going on and so not surprisingly different people felt different levels of connection on what was going on in the company. so one of the things that helped was the squeaky wheel gets the grease so to speak and so the people who brought up those concerns got more attention and they get more of those things addressed.
[00:25:31] But I also found that some people were a little more afraid to ask and so I know for myself because I was a product manager. I was meeting with like our Engineers having pure one-on-ones with them semi-regularly and honestly, well, I originally started them because I want a better relationship with the people. I was building software with it turned into about half the time was here’s all the things going in the office. You don’t know about here’s all the things that you would probably benefit from hearing about. or here’s an answer to questions you [00:26:00] have about something that you know for me because I heard things in the office the announcement made perfect sense. For you, it’s like well that came out of the blue so. I think the best thing you can do is I’ll know person is asked those questions. If you’re not sure speak up if you want to know more ask and realize you could ask a lot of different people. So yes asking your managers probably the best single Source because you know, that would be who you’d ask for you in the office, but I also just general company and culture things. Like don’t be afraid to like, hey, you’re on a call with somebody else in another department or another team or a colleague or. Before you sign off on the call take a few minutes be like. Hey, can I ask you something else? Hey, I heard about extra why but it doesn’t like totally makes sense to me. Can you give me a little more context or hey, you know, I heard about this change. It’s coming. Like what do you think of it? Like, I don’t feel like I know everything that’s going on. Oh, I’m totally out of the loop too. Well now you know, it’s everybody. Well they say, oh, well, here’s some context, you know, I saw this thing in the office or I heard this other thing or hey, we once were talking at lunch about. You know, so I think it’s being proactive and [00:27:00] asking is an important part, especially if your remote person, you know, you’re going into a company that is in all remote or remote is new to their culture. Then I think it’s on you to be an advocate for yourself and you know from day zero even when you’re getting hired being like hey. I know that communication is going to be an interesting challenge. I want us to face it head-on. So before we have an issue, I want to make sure that one I have weekly one-on-one with my manager to talk about these things and two I want to make sure that you guys have a strong culture that there’s a way for me to ask more questions, know, just expect I’m going to ask some so set that expectation from when you.
[00:27:35] Jevin: [00:27:35] Yeah, I think that makes sense. As I’m putting myself in that position where I’m remote let’s say and starting to hear like all the stuff that’s happening in the office that I wasn’t privy to I could see myself being really like feel personally attacked in that is like like “man, like why wouldn’t they include me?” “This is annoying. Like I’m also a valuable member of the team” and maybe there’s a genuine reason why I should have been included either of those decisions or [00:28:00] that information dissemination, it sounds like the perspective of you’re taking is really owning that problem and and just trying to come up with these small little strategies to be able to extract that information and I’m trying not to take it personally, which I think I’d be that’s a good learning, even for me. As I’m working with these organizations and where you know, it’s hard sometimes get this information when you’re working on a hybrid team.
[00:28:26] Jason: [00:28:26] Yeah, I think because people who work remote are so passionate about it. Like if you tweet something negative about work and I guarantee you you will hear And so what I think is important is that those people that are that passionate about it on Twitter bring of that passion of the workplace as well and in a constructive way of saying hey, I’m passionate about this. I can be a bit of an expert on it. Let’s talk about some of those shifts that need to happen so that again fixing problems when they’re small.
[00:28:56]Certainly, I think one of the biggest challenges remote work is the [00:29:00] old oh we should get Jevin on the call for this shouldn’t we?” you know the same way you would turn to a co-worker.
[00:29:05] Hey Julien come in this meeting with me and Jay. Can we borrow you for a second? We want your input. You need to make it as easy to do that. Remotely, so there’s some really cool tools that are starting to come out that are trying to solve that. I think you know, whether it be just pushing the slack call Button can help or there’s a new tool just came out of Y combinator called Tandem that I think looks kind of interesting.
[00:29:28] We’re basically it shows you what people are working on it at a given time. So like if you’re coding right now, it will know that you’re in your coding text editor which is kind of like “leave them alone. They’re in the zone”. first versus like oh they’re working on this, you know, they’re working in this Google doc right now or something like that and then you can literally one click start an audio message and say ping them and say hey Jevin, can you talk for a second?
[00:29:48] We want to Loop you in on something. also saw another startup. I forget their name off the top of my head, but they like literally have this like concept of rooms and so people can move themselves in rooms like an avatar. To [00:30:00] say that hey, I’m in an isolation Booth working or hey, I’m collaborating in marketing and confident in a virtual conference room right now.
[00:30:06] So it sees everyone that’s in the same Zoom call will appear in a room together and so creates its kind of virtual idea of like where are people in can I grab them? so for instance, I know business partner Eddie who’s head of the engineering team. He you know, he sometimes just arbitraging support tickets. Well if I need to talk to them when he’s arbitraging support tickets is a great time to grab him for a quick phone call or something. Right? And so like knowing when people are and aren’t available isn’t it is a little harder when you’re remote and so I’m really excited about some of the tools that are coming to make it more obvious when you can ping someone and reducing the friction so it is as easy as turning to someone to push a button and get them on the call.
[00:30:44] Jevin: [00:30:44] Yeah, I think that’s what you’re talking about. Where at least one of the ones that I saw was called is called Remo. I think where it’s almost like a virtual co-working space was like different rooms you can move around and it seems it seems pretty neat.
[00:30:55] I’m a big. Yeah, I love like my coworking space.
[00:30:57] Jason: [00:30:57] So yeah, I also saw [00:31:00] Microsoft was demoing technology. They this new multi-camera system where literally one of the cameras will go on the Whiteboard and because it’s multiple angles it will figure out where you’re standing in the way and give everyone remote and unobstructed view of what’s being drawn on the Whiteboard it what the heck the demo look incredible. I don’t know what the reality may be on that. But but if there’s any company that could pull off something like that it certainly Microsoft. So I’m pretty excited about kind of some of those different things and how those may come together.
[00:31:27] Jevin: [00:31:27] I think we’re both tool guys. We could probably talk about our favorite tools all day. That’s great Jason. Thanks a lot for coming on and sharing some of your ideas on how to build trust and build rapport and what healthy one-on-ones can look like and the power of them.
[00:31:44] Jason: [00:31:44] Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me Jevin. Hopefully this was helpful to everybody else. I will send you a couple of links to some of the things we talked about today. So for instance if anyone wants to check out some of the studies and things I talked about they can and you can find us the internet business is at getlighthouse.com.
[00:31:59] We have [00:32:00] tons of great helpful content for free from managers that get light house.com blog and you can follow me on Twitter. I’m at @jevanish. So just let her eat and then vanish like. I’ll tweet a lot about product and Leadership stuff
[00:32:12] Jevin: [00:32:12] Vanish like dissappear. I love that say, my name is Kevin with a J. Yeah, some people got our ways of describe ourselves lighthouses got my favorite article on running one-on-ones the reason why to do it, so like if you want to talk if you’re thinking about it, got a really good slide deck. you can browse through in a couple minutes get the idea some really great leaders who are proponents of it and how you can start running one even how to ask your boss to start writing 101.
[00:32:35] So I said these articles that people all the time so I’ll link to those as well if you’re interested in exploring Jason. Thanks again.
[00:32:42] Jason: [00:32:42] Awesome. Thanks, Jevin.
[00:32:43] Jevin: [00:32:43] Alright everyone. So from Jason myself. See you next time and build those remote teams. Bye for now.