Planning How to Invest Your Time When Managing Managers

When guiding the managers on your team to manage effectively, you’ll need to be intentional in how you spend your time, focusing both on what you discuss and on what you do. Make sure to use your check-in time wisely, explicitly talking about and reviewing their management work. Also, carve out enough time to show up and participate to see slices of the action and model good management in practice.

Areas of Focus: Examples of what to discuss: Examples of what to do:
· Delegation

· Roles

· Goals

· Check-ins

· Hiring

· Staff Development

· Feedback

· Performance Issues

· Retention

· Equity & Inclusion

· Prioritization

·       Ask probing questions about the manager’s management.What support will your staff most need from you to stay on track?”

·       Provide direct feedback on her management.I want to share some observations from watching you lead the staff retreat…”

·       Talk through upcoming management actions. Discuss her plan to delegate a new project to a staff member.

·       Role-play a management conversation. Practice an upcoming feedback conversation she is planning.

·       Debrief her management-related work. Talk about what worked and what didn’t in a recent strategy planning session.

·       Review a slice of her management-related work. Review and discuss a draft of her team’s goals for the year.



·       Observe the manager managing. Sit in on a one-on-one check-in with a staff member, then debrief afterward.

·       Work side-by-side with the manager. Co-lead a set of interviews with job candidates. Prepare and debrief together.

·       Help with key pieces of management. Work together to create role descriptions for the two new positions she’s adding.

·       Model the management work. Lead meetings to recruit potential job candidates; have her observe one, then co-lead a couple.

·       Observe the manager’s staff in action. Go with the manager to a set of site visits to observe staff working with their volunteers.

·       Get to know the manager’s staff. Plan a day to work out of the manager’s office when the team is all there.




Sample Plan

Manager’s Name: Becca                                 Time Frame:    April 1 to May 15        

Areas of Focus: What I will discuss: What I will do:


Role-play or talk through a feedback conversation. Ask, “What did you see that you’re concerned about? What was the impact of that? What’s the impact if this doesn’t improve?” Go with her to observe her staff leading the next fundraiser planning meeting to get more insight into feedback she should be giving and debrief with her afterward


Help her start to think of her team’s goals. Ask, “What would be a big success for your team this year? What do you want the team to achieve? How will you know you’ve achieved that?” Train her in writing effective SMART goals. Include the staff in that training, or help her prepare to train them.



Manager’s Name: ______________________ Time Frame: ____________ to _____________

Areas of Focus: What I will discuss: What I will do:


Download this in Word here: