Jessica's Friday Five

Jessica's Monthly Management Memo - April 2024

Published about 2 months ago • 2 min read

Hi Reader,

As you'll read below, it's been a tough month for me and my family. Throughout the experience, I've noticed much about how work and personal lives intersect in beautiful and toxic ways. I'll share a few of those reflections this month.

Let's get to your Monthly Management Memo - as always with something bold, something new, something borrowed, and something to pursue.

Something Bold - Getting Honest Feedback
Often, teammates do not feel comfortable giving honest feedback to their manager. Power dynamics in the office can make this tricky. The reality is, though, that you need that feedback! Here are some ways to get it:

  • Email your direct report: "Hey, I'm eager to get input on how our work together is going and would value your honest input. At our next check-in, I'd love to hear what is going well and what I could do better as your manager." This allows them to think about their input before the meeting and feel prepared.
  • Once you get feedback from someone, say thank you. Do it in the moment, and later, privately message them stating how you value their feedback.
  • Call out the value of your team members' feedback to your whole team in a meeting so they see it as an example of how they should also give feedback.
  • Give new responsibilities, key project assignments, and promotions to those who speak up and effectively give feedback. When you do this, it's important to let everyone know this was part of your decision why to do so.

Something New - Bereavement at Work
My mom passed away earlier this month. It has been, as you'd expect, an incredibly challenging experience. I wrote last night on LinkedIn about some of the things I learned through the process about how we were supported. It has caused me to reflect on how I will support my colleagues and friends as they deal with these moments in the future.

Something Borrowed - Appreciation Ideas
In a recent workshop I led on project management, I shared ideas for how to incorporate appreciation into your project management approach. There were 70+ others in the workshop, and I asked folks to share in the chat about how they appreciate others and how they like to be appreciated. The ideas flowed! Here are some of the ones I captured: one team has a #kudos channel on Slack specifically for appreciating each other, another has a wellness bonus given to staff during particularly busy times, one team is using Thnks to give everyone a budget for sending small thank you gifts to teammates, and another does regular office closures for rest after busy times.

Something to Pursue - Spring Team Building Activities
Spring is in the air if you're in the Northern Hemisphere like me! Any time you put aside for team building is great, but incorporating the season can be even more fun. Here are a few ideas:

  • Plants: Could you bring in supplies (small flower or succulent starts, soil, pots) and have folks plant some indoor plants to put on their desk?
  • Cookie Decorating: With simple pre-bought sugar cookies and frosting, your team can close up a meeting by decorating some cookies together and even voting for whose cookie looks the most delicious or beautiful.
  • Bring in a Gardener: Bring in a local gardening expert to help lead an activity. Your team can learn about local pollinators, how to grow an herb garden at home, or some other fun topic.
  • Spring Scavenger Hunt: This can be done in person or virtually. Who can be the first to find and bring back a green item? A flower? A clover? A stuffed baby animal?
  • Picnic: Have a team meeting at the park at a comfortable time of day. Bring snacks and drinks, and let everyone breathe fresh air while connecting.

Bring your team, and I'll bring my A-game. I love helping teams with workshops on productivity, team culture, and effectiveness at work. Find out more and book a free chat to see if I can be helpful to your organization.

Jessica's Friday Five

by Jessica Eastman Stewart

Five practical tips every Friday for making your life more joyful and easy. A wildly popular email newsletter with thousands of readers.

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