The Best Staff Management and Development Hack

THIS WEEK’S BLOG -> The Best Staff Management and Development Hack

READ -> Good leadership is about communicating the ‘Why’

LISTEN -> Everyone talks about time management, but how about energy management? This podcast is really good and insightful.

VERSE -> Proverbs 9:9-10 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

The Best Staff Management and Development Hack

In this blog, I want to share with you the best staff management and development hack. Then share the three different types of staff sizes and why this hack is needed in each one.

Several years ago heard a pastor talking about how he structured his days, specifically with his 11 direct reports (ie assistant coaches).

Every week he would meet with each of the 11.

Prior to the meeting, this leader would spend time thinking about what they talked about during their last meeting, what they are working on, what questions were needing to be asked, and several other items for their time together.

Over time this almost caused him to burn out. He was exhausted. These meetings were taking most of his energy each week, with very little left for creative and clear thinking that was needed to lead this large church.

He soon recognized that he was running himself ragged and stunting the development of his direct reports. So he made an adjustment.

He told his direct reports that he was no longer going to lead the weekly meeting. He was done spending time remembering what they talked about last week, spending time asking questions about all the projects they were working on, and done bringing the energy or the agenda.

They were now going to be in charge of their weekly meetings. In other words, he was handing more leadership and ownership over to the direct report.

He was going to stop “over-function while the direct reports under-functioned.”

A funny thing happened. His direct reports started to flourish. They took more ownership. They brought things up that the leader would have never thought of asking about. They were organized and thorough.

Staff Hack
With that, I want to introduce you to the best staff development and management hack; The 10-minute meeting.

As a head coach or someone who has people reporting to you, it is your role to engage and develop them. However, like this pastor, you have other things to do and your energy doesn’t need to be spent running every meeting.

Here is how this works. Set a twice a week, weekly, or every other week 10-minute meeting with each assistant.

At this 1 on 1 meeting, they bring the agenda. They fill you in on what they are working on, the progress they are making, and the next steps.

(PS. This meeting is often on top of your normal staff meeting. This is a one on one meeting)

All you do is listen and either ask probing questions, challenge them in an area, or encourage them.

There are multiple benefits to this 10-minute meeting.
-Your assistants have to learn to be prepared.
-They take more ownership.
-They have to be more forward-thinking and less reactionary.
-You can delegate and still keep a good pulse on how things are going without seeming like a micro-manager.
-You have a set time to check in on your staff.
-You keep short accounts with assistants. This time gives you easy access to correct or encourage without having to call a meeting.
-You kill two birds with one stone… stay up to speed on all the things your assistants are working on and thinking about and still not have to exert all your energy.
-If provides you with one on one time.

The 10-minute meeting will give you a forced function to help in the development of staff and free you up mentally.

Staff Dynamics To Consider
There are three categories of staff when it comes to size and how they operate based on that size.

‘Golf Foursome’ Staff
The first is the ‘golf foursome’. This is the small staff that is comprised of 2-4 staff members. This size of staff operates in an organic way. They might have a set staff meeting but much of their conversations happen in the flow of the day.

Much like a golf foursome, it is small, organic, and easy to connect and talk.

The potential problem with the ‘golf foursome’ organic nature is it can possibly lead to some things slipping and accountability to suffer.

When I was the head baseball coach at Des Moines Area Community College, I had a ‘golf foursome’ staff. My paid assistant was Dan Fitzgerald. Dan is a driven, hard-working, get stuff done, type of guy. So our organic rhythms were never an issue for us.

However, I am familiar with some smaller staffs in which the assistant is not like Dan and the head coach has had issues with this assistant. Having that hard conversation can be made even more difficult because of the organic nature of the staff dynamics.

The 10-minute meeting gives you a structured, formal time to check-in, give feedback, and correct or encourage when necessary. Make it a business meeting and not a riff session.

‘Basketball Team’ Staff
The second staff size is the ‘basketball team’. It is a little bigger than the ‘golf foursome’ but still has an organic feel. Just like in basketball, on a “basketball team” staff everyone plays both offense and defense so you don’t have to work too hard at bringing the staff together. However, things are getting a little more specialized with this staff and the numbers are increasing.

A ‘basketball team’ staff is anywhere between 4-8 people.

This still feels really manageable and organic. However, the bigger a staff gets, even increasing by one or two people, the more likely it is to not connect in a meaningful way with everyone. Having a 10-minute meeting is important for a leader to stay connected to each person individually.

‘Football Team’ Staff
The next size and dynamic is the ‘football team’ staff. Just like a football team, this staff is really big.

On this staff, people can do their job really well and not interact with some of the other staff members.

On this size of staff there must be tight processes and procedures to ensure staff unity and productivity. This staff is really specialized, and very little cross over is necessary. The defense does their thing and the offense does their thing.

Organic would never work in this staff. It must be scheduled and intentional. 10-minute meetings are crucial on a staff of this size.

Not everyone needs a weekly or twice a week meeting but they will all need one.

Why does it matter what size of staff you are leading?

The size of the staff usually dictates how we operate. The key is to know the pitfalls of each staff size.

How Often & Why
Previously I advised having these 10-minute meetings either twice a week, once a week, or every other week.

If you are in the middle of an intense recruiting season, you might want to meet individually with your recruiting coordinator twice a week (or maybe even more!) so that he can keep you up to speed on all the recruiting news.

During a slower recruiting season, maybe you meet with him once a week or every other week.

Or maybe you are in the middle of your spring football or fall baseball and you want to meet up more often with your offensive coordinator/ pitching coach. Set a 10-minute meeting twice a week during this time period and once a week all other times.

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Travis Wyckoff

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