Manager of a remote team? Great! We can assume you already know how important good communication is to you and your team’s success.
So how can you improve your communication?
Well for starters, you could write your own manager README.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of a README file, it’s basically a text file of everything you need to know to get up and running with an application. It contains instructions, help, and additional details you need to know to start something you’re new and/or unfamiliar with.
Rather than using a README in its traditional software engineering way, we’re going to take a README file and use it to lay out you and your team’s unique individual and group communication preferences and policies.
The purpose of your manager README is to bring someone who is completely unfamiliar with you quickly up to speed with your work philosophy and what it takes to be successful working with you.
What would you want someone who is joining the team to know about you, the team, and what implicit and explicit norms they can expect to encounter? How will you explain your views on work, availability, success, teamwork, feedback, and more?
The answers to each of these questions should be answered in your readme.
It may sound a little cumbersome at first, but getting your ideas and assumptions out onto “paper” is a great exercise. You may even encourage each individual team member to contribute their own readme.
Here are some key points you’ll want to cover in your first draft…
A Generic Outline for a manager README
- Introduction/Why You’re Writing this Document
- Your Role and What Success Looks Like For You
- Work Philosophy
- How I Can Help You
- How You Can Help Me
- A Great Team Player Looks Like
- Things I Do Not Appreciate
- Things I Appreciate
You may also choose to have each team member do the same and group the results into one large team readme file.
Want to see an example?
Curious as to what mine looks like? Here it is:
A README is a work in progress and can be updated when it needs to be, so take some time to think about things, take the first stab at it, and share it with your team and any new employees or contractors you’ll be working with.
P.S Not familiar with Markdown? Dillinger is a great README editor. Also, feel free to just start off with a simple Google Doc shared with the team.