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The Know Your Team Blog

Thoughts on how to become a better leader, and avoid being a bad boss.

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Do I truly want to become a manager?

We don’t ask ourselves this enough. Here are 6 critical questions to reflect on when considering if you should become a manager or not. When we’re asked, “Do you want to become a manager?” we often assume there is only one answer. “Oh, of course, I want to be a manager.” Right? Who doesn’t? Especially… Read the full article ...

Don’t solve problems if you want to be a great manager.

What makes a great manager isn't the problems they solve, but the questions they ask. Start with these 16 questions here. ...
KYT Manager Workshop

Announcing: Our Manager Workshop

Attend our in-person leadership training and manager workshop to get better as a leader, faster. ...
Hostess juggling the menu and the phone.

Want to be a better manager? Work as a restaurant hostess.

The 6 indispensable leadership lessons I learned working as a restaurant hostess. ...
The hill and the flags of improving.

7 things to consider when using a performance improvement plan (PIP)

Coaching an underperforming employee? Here are 7 things to consider if, when, and how to use a performance improvement plan. ...
CEO label

Is a CEO is worth working for? 4 questions to ask a prospective boss

If you’re looking to leave your company to work for another, you’ll want to consider this. Recently, someone asked me for advice about getting a new perspective boss and potentially leaving one company to go work for another. He was curious about what factors he should consider before making the decision. He’d already vetted the role,… Read the full article ...
The Anti-Hero

The Anti-Mentor: How a bad boss influences our leadership style

Having a bad boss shapes our leadership style more than we realize – for better and for worse. Who’s the worst boss you ever had? Your answer to this question matters. It influences your leadership style in more ways than you think. For myself, I can answer that question, “Who’s the worst boss you ever… Read the full article ...

How transparent should you be as a leader?

Two things I’ve found helpful to consider when trying to decide what to be transparent about with my team – and what to keep to myself. How transparent should you be as a leader? This is a question many leaders struggle with — including myself. Do you share financials with the company? Or how about salary? How open should… Read the full article ...

New! The Heartbeat Podcast about leadership and its 31 best management quotes

Listen to our leadership lessons now on iTunes, Spotify, and read the best management quotes from 31 leaders from each episode, so far. I’ve got some fun news to share: The Heartbeat is now a podcast! You can listen to your favorite leadership lessons during your commute, daily walk, while you’re cleaning your kitchen… well,… Read the full article ...

The 5 bottom-line benefits of building trust in the workplace

Building trust in our team is more than a “feel-good” thing – here’s the data that show how trust affects our team’s performance and the company’s bottom line. Trust in the workplace matters to us. Or at least, we say it does. We surveyed 597 managers and employees back in Fall 2018, and 91% of… Read the full article ...

How to discuss poor performance with an employee

Managing an underperforming employee is tough. Here’s advice from 1,000+ managers in Know Your Team on how to address poor performance. It’s time to have “the talk”: The one where you have to figure out how to discuss poor performance with an employee. This not-so-fun conversation you likely saw coming. After missed deadlines and low… Read the full article ...

What makes a good leader? Leadership is your product, not your identity.

The minute you stop tying your leadership so closely to your identity, you become a better manager. You are not your leadership style. In order to be a good leader, you must internalize this. As much as you might self-identify with being an “empathetic leader” or a “decisive leader”, you’ve got to let these notions… Read the full article ...

Building trust in teams: What and why?

How do you build trust in a team? First, let’s understand what trust really is and why it matters. Who do you trust? The first people who likely came to mind were your partner, your family, and your friends (hopefully). How about your boss? Your coworker? It’s harder to say. A 2016 study conducted by Edelman… Read the full article ...

The Mindset Shift: How to become a good new manager

Are you a first-time manager? Of all the management advice for new managers, embrace this one, first. Don’t be fooled: Becoming a new manager is deceptively difficult. No matter how many leadership books you’ve read or conversations you’ve had with mentors – the transition to becoming a manager is precarious. Talk to any leader, and they’ll… Read the full article ...
Leadership strength doesn't m

The most counterintuitive leadership tip? Leaders, stop doing what you’re good at.

Playing to your strengths as a leader doesn’t make you a good boss – in fact, it can make you a bad boss. Here’s why. Of all the leadership tips to be a good manager, “leaning into your strengths” has got to be one of the most frequently cited. “Do what you’re good at. Focus… Read the full article ...

Big news: Know Your Company is now Know Your Team 🎉

After four years, we’re launching a new product, business model, and company name. Here’s why. ...

You have a micromanaging boss. What can you do?

There are 5 reasons your boss is micromanaging you. Here’s how to manage up, and around them. I’ve heard the phrase, “I have a micromanaging boss,” more times than I can remember. I heard it again, just last week. This person asked me, “What do I do? Is there anything I can say to a micromanager?… Read the full article ...

Managing disagreements: How to handle diverging points-of-view with your boss

Six leadership tips on what to do when you disagree with your boss (or another senior leader at the company) It’s inevitable: You’re going to disagree with your boss. No two people on the planet agree with each other on everything, 100% of the time. “That’s a terrible idea,” you think to yourself, after listening to… Read the full article ...

Feeling “off”? How to be a good manager when you just don’t feel like being one

If you’re struggling to stay engaged as a leader lately, here are some leadership tips to pull you out of the slump. Some days, being a good manager is more difficult than others. You can’t focus. The day drags. You feel “off.” The company isn’t doing as well as it used to. Or you received a… Read the full article ...

Watercooler Hangout #1 Transcript 💧🗒

A chance to connect with Watercooler members more closely, and learn from each others’ experiences. During this hangout on November 8th, we hosted: Andrew Montelenti, CTO at Parse.ly Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Company Jonathan McCormick, Director at Rosseau, Ltd. Morgan Legge, Operations at Convert.com Prabodh Kumar, Head of Engineering at Recruiterbox.com Robert Williams,… Read the full article ...

The surest sign of a bad boss? You don’t listen.

You’re likely making these 4 leadership mistakes as a leader. Here’s what to do instead to become a better listener. You’re not listening, as leader. You think you might be — but it’s highly likely that you’re not. Think back to your last one-on-one meeting. Be honest: What percent of the time did you accidentally zone out… Read the full article ...

To be a good manager: 8 ways to avoid your opinion swaying your team too much

A good manager knows their opinion can influence their team sometimes TOO much. Here’s how to compensate for that. When you’re a manager, something interesting happens: You mention an idea off-hand, and all of sudden, it becomes a priority. You casually ask a question out of curiosity, and all of sudden, everyone scrambles ASAP to get… Read the full article ...

From The Heart(beat): Leadership lessons I wished I’d learned earlier

Here are a few of my favorite leadership tips from CEOs, founders and executives featured recently in our Heartbeat interviews. Every two weeks, I ask one question on a leadership lesson to a founder, CEO, or business owner I respect and share it on The Heartbeat ❤️, our bi-weekly newsletter on how to become a… Read the full article ...

11 must-read books for new managers

New to the whole “manager” thing? Get your feet wet by checking out these 11 most recommended leadership books. Congratulations on your role as a new manager! You’re likely feeling 80% excited and 20% terrified. That’s completely normal 🙂 Becoming a first-time manager is intimidating. You’re about to start flexing skills you might never have had… Read the full article ...

4 non-cringeworthy team-bonding events that people actually enjoy

Here’s what 1,000 managers in The Watercooler said their employees enjoyed most as a team-building activity. Team bonding — known to some as “forced fun” — can bring feelings of dread and resentment to many employees. And who can blame them? When thinking of team bonding, many people picture awkward trust falls or hours spent with a facilitator asking… Read the full article ...

How to prepare for a one-on-one meeting as a manager

The 4 things you should do to make the most out of your next 1-on-1 meeting. You’re not prepared. Or at least that’s what employees think when it comes to one-on-one meetings. In a recent survey we conducted of 1,182 managers and 838 employees, we found 36% of employees believe their manager is only “somewhat… Read the full article ...

The leadership mistake you’re likely making? Being nice.

Why being nice as a leader backfires — and what to do instead. Leaders, stop being so nice all the time. I don’t mean to sound like an asshole. But when it comes to leadership, it’s true: Prioritizing “being nice” keeps us from being good leaders. Now I’m not advocating for us to be mean. Disrespectful or dismissive… Read the full article ...

Stop asking these 4 questions during your one-on-one meetings

If you’re wondering why your one-on-one meetings tend to feel unfruitful, these questions might be the culprit. Looking at the clock. Staring into the distance. Short, nondescript answers. A CEO recently told me how he’d frequently see this body language from an employee during their one-on-one meetings. Flat. Disinterested. Preoccupied. It felt lousy to witness, but… Read the full article ...

Managers: Want the truth? Recognize the employee who tells it.

The best managers encourage their team to tell the truth by recognizing the employees who voice it. “Employee recognition” is all the rage lately. The idea is that you should positively reinforce the behaviors you want to see in your team. Want employees to hit their sales goals? Recognize those who do. Want employees to be… Read the full article ...

14 questions to ask an underperforming employee during a one-on-one meeting

When an employee is struggling, here’s what the best managers do. Someone’s slipping. You see it. You feel it. You’re not on the same page. You desperately want to pull the person up, but you’re not sure exactly how. Do you encourage them? Switch them off the project? Change how you’re leading them? You’re now facing… Read the full article ...