April 25, 2024

Jeff Shirk

Transparent Books

After-Action Review: Management Styles

Introduction

At Upwork, we’ve been using a version of the OKR methodology to manage our work and evaluate our performance since 2012. We have around 80 teams that report into a single division called Operations, which supports all of our other divisions. In this context, Operations is one of many customer-facing teams at Upwork—but it has a special role because it provides support for other teams (instead of directly serving customers).

Reviewing your team’s work can be a great way to learn.

Reviewing your team’s work can be a great way to learn.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m a big believer in the importance of reviewing and reflecting on your own performance. This is because it helps you figure out what you’re doing right and how to improve, which will lead to better results for your company. It also shows that you care about being better at your job–and if people see that from their manager, they’ll be more likely to do the same thing themselves!

One of our biggest challenges at Upwork is how we manage and support the work of our remote teams.

One of our biggest challenges at Upwork is how we manage and support the work of our remote teams.

Remote workers have different sets of challenges than their on-site counterparts, so they need to be managed differently. This can be difficult for managers who don’t have experience working with remote employees or who aren’t willing to change their approach in order to accommodate this style of management.

Additionally, when you’re managing people who are physically separated from one another by great distances (even if it’s just across town), communication becomes much more difficult–and important! It seems obvious that it would be harder for someone who isn’t present in person with another person or group of people to communicate effectively; however, many companies still struggle with this issue even though they’ve implemented tools such as Slack channels or Zoom video calls (both excellent options).

I believe that people who thrive in remote teams tend to share some characteristics, including some of the following.

There are some commonalities among the people who thrive in remote teams, including:

  • Self-reliant and self-sufficient. They don’t need to be told what to do or how to do it; they know how they want their work done and are comfortable working virtually with a remote team.
  • High standards for their own performance, but not perfection from themselves or others. This helps ensure that everyone keeps improving over time without feeling like they’re being held up as an example of what everyone else should strive toward achieving (which can create a great deal of stress).

They’re self-reliant and self-sufficient.

Self-reliant and self-sufficient. These are the people who don’t need to be micromanaged, told what to do, or given a detailed schedule for their day. They take initiative and know how to manage their time and priorities. They’re good at setting goals for themselves and then achieving them–and they’re not afraid of taking risks if it means getting ahead in their career!

They’re comfortable working virtually with a remote team.

It’s important to be able to work effectively with people you don’t know and aren’t familiar with. If you can’t do this, you’ll have a hard time leading a remote team.

Here are some ways to practice working with virtual teams:

  • Ask questions when you need help or have questions about something. Don’t be shy!
  • Offer your services as a resource if someone asks for them–you may not know everything, but there’s always something you’re good at (even if it’s just making coffee).

They have high standards for their work product and their own performance, but they don’t expect perfection from themselves or others.

They have high standards for their work product and their own performance, but they don’t expect perfection from themselves or others.

They know their strengths and weaknesses. They’re confident in their work and set high standards for themselves, but they don’t get stressed when things go wrong. If something doesn’t go right, they don’t dwell on it; instead, they move forward with an eye toward improvement next time around.

They aren’t afraid to ask for help when they need it, and they are willing to give help when asked by others.

They aren’t afraid to ask for help when they need it, and they are willing to give help when asked by others.

This is an important trait that builds trust in the team. It also shows that you’re not afraid of asking for help yourself and that you can be relied upon when someone else needs your assistance.

It’s important that we don’t make the mistake of asking them to be what they’re not–something they can’t be because they’re not in our office or circle of friends or colleagues.

It’s important that we don’t make the mistake of asking them to be what they’re not–something they can’t be because they’re not in our office or circle of friends or colleagues. We need to ask ourselves what kind of manager we want to be, and when we do that, we should know our own strengths and weaknesses.

We also have to remember that it’s okay for people who work under us not just because it makes sense from a business perspective but also because it shows respect for others’ abilities. It’s important for managers who are good at certain things (like managing) but may not have as much experience doing something else (like writing code) understand this so that they can then delegate those tasks accordingly

Many of these traits are ones I’ve observed among successful managers and leaders at Upwork in general; however, my observations about successful remote workers are new and distinct enough that I’m calling them out as a special case here.

The following are some of the traits that I’ve observed among successful managers and leaders at Upwork in general:

  • They’re good communicators. They may not always be able to get one-on-one time with their team members, but they make sure everyone knows what’s going on by sending regular updates about the project’s progress and keeping them informed about any changes or issues that arise.
  • They know when to step back and let their employees do their jobs without micromanaging them. They also understand when it’s necessary for someone on the team to take charge when things aren’t going well–and they know how best to motivate their employees so they’ll rise up against any challenge presented by an obstacle outside of work (like a personal problem).

Conclusion

In the end, there’s no one way to manage a remote team. What matters most is that you find what works for you and your team members, then stick with it. The key is to keep learning from each other as we grow together.