One of our most important functions as managers in GitLab's Support Team is to provide a safe, inclusive, supportive environment in which our team members (direct reports) will be happy, productive and successful. We want them to feel valued. We want to reward them for outstanding contributions. We want to give them opportunities to grow and to be challenged. We want to offer guidance for improvement when it's needed and get out of the way when it's not. We want to be a readily available, trusted resource rather than a crutch or a burden.
Given the uniqueness of each person on each of our teams, though, and their correspondingly varied needs, skills, personalities and behaviors, how can we possibly hope to succeed in this endeavor? We will need to tailor our management approach uniquely for each individual team member. Offered on this page is what we believe to be a good first step in doing that, and in becoming not just a good manager, but the right manager for each individual member of your team.
Begin each manager/direct-report relationship, whether you are the new manager on the team or you have a new member joining the team that you manage, with a special one-on-one meeting. The agenda for the meeting is two-part, and essentially amounts to this:
It's important that you each give enough information about your personal and professional background so that the other person can begin to know who you are, what's important to you, what's meaningful to you, and how you do work. And as you'll see when you look at the template for this meeting, you as the manager have the added responsibility of learning specific details about how to work with your team member.
Now that you have all this terrific information about your team member, make use of it all the time! In the beginning, you might consider looking through it before each one-on-one to refresh your memory on, well, everything. Over time you'll probably remember some of the information and not need it as a cheat sheet. Still, continue to use it as a reference as necessary. Some good uses are: