At Outcome Health, when we say that “the company is currently experiencing a period of hyper-growth”, that is truly an understatement. Our business is rapidly growing and changing across all functions: We’re expanding to more doctors’ offices, innovating our product line and capabilities, and impacting more patients every single day. To support this growth, it’s imperative that our teams grow with it. Having an effective management team is crucial to the success of Outcome Health. This expansion requires high quality leaders. We hope to promote these leaders from within the company; therefore, we will likely have many first-time managers. To prepare for this, it’s important to build out a manager effectiveness program in order to groom future leaders and map out the basics we think all managers need to know. Outcome Health believes building someone’s management potential is a highly valued skill, and we expect current managers to help develop our management team by identifying leadership skills in their employees, thus cultivating their management potential. By looking ahead and teaching fundamental leadership skills, we can ease the transition into their promotion, supporting them through the entirety of this process.
Being a good manager takes a lifetime of study and practice. There are countless theories, competencies and skills we could teach our budding leaders, but we’ve narrowed the focus on four key behaviors that we believe will provide them with a solid foundation.
1. Make their expectations for each individual team member clear
Write them down. At Outcome Health, we make employees aware of what’s expected of them through an alignment document called a V2MOM (Vision, Value, Methods, Obstacles and Measures). The V2MOM answers the questions:
– What does success look like at the end of one year?
– How does my work fit into the larger team and organization goals?
– What are the milestones to this success, and what could go wrong?
This document serves as the guide for each team’s goals and expectations, and we train our managers to work with their teams to produce their V2MOM together. Managers and their direct reports are constantly reviewing their V2MOMs and pivot if needed to ensure progress. If managers can help their employees create great V2MOMS and sign off on their employees’ measures and timelines, both parties walk away knowing how to achieve success in their role.
Set context. It is important for team members to understand why their work matters. When managers make the vision for their team’s work clear, this creates a more motivated and autonomous team.
Talk about it. We expect our managers to talk about employee performance in every one-on-one meeting, and to have four official performance conversations a year. In these meetings, the manager and employee should discuss if/how the team member is meeting expectations as set out in his or her V2MOM, and how to improve or maintain the impact they’re having. We train managers to always set an intention for those conversations regarding how they want their report to feel. (Examples are, confident, hopeful and energized.) These meetings help direct reports understand how they are trending toward their goals and how they can continue to meet their manager’s expectations.
2. Coach employees based on their strengths
We offer a strengths workshop for all teams and leaders at Outcome Health. This is a great “get-to-know-you” experience in which managers work with their team members to identify and acknowledge individual strengths as found by the Clifton StrengthsFinder. This assessment identifies an individual’s top five strengths, giving managers many data points about the people on their team. Additionally, we train our managers how to recognize strengths in someone else. When identifying team members’ strengths, it’s important for managers to understand which tasks and projects energize their employees and make them feel confident and engaged in their work. We believe that the art of applying team members’ strengths to their daily tasks is something that managers must practice and refine.
3. Recognize and acknowledge individual employees’ good work
We help our managers brainstorm different ways to acknowledge their teams. Acknowledgements can range from large team or office-wide celebrations to a more casual daily reassurance, as everyone likes to be recognized for their accomplishments in different ways. We provide a framework for the initial one-on-one with a manager and team member. Managers should ask questions to find out how each of their employees is uniquely motivated to gain a better understanding of the kind of recognition that will be most impactful. For example, questions like, “Tell me about your favorite time when you were recognized for your work,” and ask why this recognition made them feel energized and motivated. Managers should consistently recognize their team members’ accomplishments: It can be as simple as replying to an email with a summary of the highlights and challenges of the week or weekly team awards. This will cultivate a culture of recognition amongst the team as a whole, in which team members will congratulate each other on a peer-to-peer level too.
4. Show care for team members as individuals
Showing care for one’s employees must be at the heart of what managers do. Managers can show care by ensuring that each team member knows that his or her opinion is valued, respected and heard. Managers must have their team members’ growth and development in mind, and also provide a safe and trusting environment for their team. Everyone needs to feel like their presence and contributions are valued at work and that people would notice if they weren’t there. Our managers are trained to understand that showing care should be the foundation of all their interactions with employees.
Steph Gogul is a Learning and Development Specialist at Outcome Health, where she enables all Activators (Outcome Health employees) to experience their best possible selves by investing in their career and creating development opportunities.