Being in a managerial role is less about what the position does for your career and more about what you can do for the people on your team. Directly, how you help them succeed is where your time needs to be spent. A healthy, successful, and constantly meeting and/or exceeding expectations team only happens when a manager has this mindset.

Along with this mindset, it’s important to understand how to best manage your team’s time. In other words, shield them from the unnecessary aspects of the everyday project life cycle that take away productive time. Most people don’t know how to do this properly, but today I’m going to teach you!

What “Shielding” Means

In the shortest of words, shielding is a manager keeping the involvement of their team to only when it absolutely matters. Now, this can be misinterpreted if you don’t have the purest intentions. This definition, by any means, does not equate to keeping your team out of opportunities for growth and/or recognition. More so, it means making sure your team has the most productive time possible by keeping out of pointless meetings and unnecessary rituals.

How To Achieve

After seeing the benefits, it’s only natural to want to know how to actually accomplish this team culture. Fortunately, though, it’s a pretty simple process that only takes a few steps.

  1. Look through meetings and ensure only the required team members are set to required
  2. Limit amount of lengthy meetings per week
  3. Aim to have at least one day a week a no meetings a day for your team
  4. Async when possible, in person(or virtual) for meaningful conversations only
  5. Start small when bringing in your team to discuss, then broaden as ideas develop
  6. Validate and support when successful
  7. Analyze and provide improvement opportunities when failures occur
  8. Take accountability for your team, always
  9. Limit influential subgroups

Knowing Your Not In A Team Like This

Learning how to build a team like this, and identify when you’re in it is great. However, most probably won’t be in teams like this. In truth, you’ll more likely be in the opposite. That’s a part of life, and nothing to stress about. Just look for the signs, and move accordingly. To help, here are some things to be mindful of.

  1. Your manager takes credit for all team accomplishments, and none of the failures
  2. Meetings consume productivity hours to the point where you’re expected to constantly work after hours
  3. Sprint goals aren’t based on past performance
  4. Retrospectives are all about pointing fingers
  5. Team members are brought in too early, and not on priority(seniority and ability)
  6. Mentorship isn’t encouraged
  7. Your team doesn’t have diverse career trajectory goals

In Closing

Shielding your team is something every good manager should look to do. Vice versa, everyone should look for a manager that does this for the right reasons. Investing in yourself as a team member is just as much about finances as it is putting yourself in the right team at the right time. As a manager, the same can be said about investing in those around you.