On April 18, a Twitter thread written by Matthew Rechs went viral with 7,513 retweets, 2,058 quote tweets, and 58.9K likes as of August 8, 2022. His tweet was titled, “11 Promises From A Manager: A Thread.”
Rechs is currently a Senior Product Leader at a top 5 tech firm and has worked on Wall Street, for WPP and for Adobe, and has managed teams of up to 100 people. When Forbes interviewed him about why he thinks the thread struck such a chord with Twitter users he said,
“I think people are more emotionally involved with their work than they used to be. Their expectations for their well-being and psychological safety have risen. People identify and react to the way that their leaders or employers treat them and they expect much more empathy than they did before.”
And with that emotional involvement with your manager, comes an emotional involvement with your teammates. So, I’d like to embellish on Rechs’ 11 Promises as a Manager (in bold) to include
11 Promises as a Team Member:
1. We’ll have a weekly 1:1. I’ll never cancel this meeting, but you can cancel it whenever you like. It’s your time. We’ll have a weekly huddle with the team. We’re all responsible for making sure this meeting is meaningful. If it lasts 5 minutes, that’s fine. If it takes longer, that’s okay too as long as we are productive. We will not extend past the end time.
2. Our 1:1 agenda will be in the meeting invite so we remember important topics. But you’re always free to use the time for whatever’s on your mind. Our agendas will be in the meeting invite, so please come prepared to discuss. If you have something else you want to discuss, bring it up when we go over the agenda first thing or call the meeting organizer.
3. When I schedule a meeting with you, I’ll always say *when I schedule it* what it’s meant to be about. I will not schedule meetings without an agenda. No agenda? No attenda. We will not schedule meetings without an agenda.
4. When I drop into your DM’s, I’ll always say “hi and why.” No suspense, no small talk while you are wondering what I want. DM’s are for quick conversations. Always say, “hi and why.” No suspense or small talk while you are wondering what they want.
5. News or announcements that significantly impact you, your work, or your team will come from the team leader directly in a 1:1, not revealed in a big meeting. For news that significantly impacts the team, the team will take the time to discuss the impacts and how we will recover or mitigate the issue.
6. You’ll get feedback from me when it’s fresh. There will be no feedback in your performance review that you’re hearing for the first time. Team members ask for, and give each other timely, specific, and actionable feedback – and then finish the conversation by asking how we can support you. That’s how we get better!
7. I trust you to manage your own time. You don’t need to clear with me in advance your time AFK or OOO. Let your teammates know when you are not going to be accessible for a period of time (e.g. AFK [away from keyboard] or OOO [out of office]. Note: “Period of time” to be defined by the team.
8. Your work gets done your way. My focus is on outcomes, not output. Once we’re clear on where we need to go, how to get there is up to you. If I ever find it necessary to suggest a specific approach, I will supply an example. There are multiple ways in which to get work done. Focus on the outcome FIRST. Get clear on where we need to go and collaborate on the best way to get there. Check with the boss if there is a specific approach/expectation so you don’t succumb to the “rock phenomenon.”
9. A team is strongest when it’s working together, looking after one another, and taking care of each other. Please look to your left and to your right for opportunities to help your colleagues. Please ask for help when you need it. Nobody works alone. Ditto!
10. I trust you to skip a level and talk to my manager or other senior management about anything you feel is relevant. You don’t need to clear it with me, and I’m not going to get weird about it when you do. Since the formal team leader is part of the team, there shouldn’t be a need to skip a level and talk with the manager or other senior management – BUT if for some reason, the team leader is not available, the team may skip a level – just cc/let the team leader know.
11. I will attribute credit appropriately to you and your team. I will never exaggerate my own role or minimize your contribution. I’ll be especially certain to nail down attribution when senior management is hearing of our accomplishments. We will recognize and attribute credit appropriately to individual contributions and the team’s work, especially when senior management is hearing of our accomplishments.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Melody Wilding, an executive coach and author of Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work, said, “This thread encapsulates what employees want most right now: clarity, empathy, and transparency and trust,” she said. “Bosses need to show their teams they trust them,” she added. “It doesn’t matter how something gets done as long as the final work product meets expectations. It’s far more important that your team feels ownership and autonomy.”
In writing this post, this seems like some specific “ground rules” to help your team feel ownership and autonomy. I thought it was interesting that when asked how he came up with this list of 11 promises, Rechs said: “A lot of the stuff on my list comes from my own failings, what I want to do better, and from stories people have told me.”
What failings have you seen in teams, where you, as a teammate can do better or stories people have told you? What would you add to this list?