The Psychology of People Management: How to Motivate People to Be Their Best

Two months into my new management gig, and I very nearly made a huge mistake. 

There I was, blind to the strengths of my teammate, trying stubbornly to fit the teammate into a role he did not want. I was failing him as a manager, and worse, I was projecting my management failure onto him. I, the mighty manager, must be right; he must be the one failing.

I realized my mistake after a series of hard conversations and a bundle of self-reflection. I realized it just in time. Not only had he yet to write off me or the company, he was still so gracious and warm-hearted as to become a trusted colleague and amazing part of our team, thriving in the role I should have been more aware of all along.

My mistake was one of hubris, definitely, but it was also one of ignorance.

I didn’t know how to manage people.

Continue reading

The 10 Most Common Fallacies and Biases for Marketing Leaders

These are the fallacies and biases that plague all of us and are particularly trippy for marketing leaders.

They are the infamous “unknown unknowns,” which I am hoping — by virtue of this blog post — may now at least be known a bit better.

For a full list of fallacies and biases, I highly recommend the book The Art of Thinking Clearly. It’s been foundational for the customer research we do at Buffer and for the way we approach problems as clear-minded as possible (we think). Many of the fallacies below were pulled from the book.

Continue reading

Marketing predictions for 2019.

1. Micro content is back.

Not everyone has time for longform, 2,500-word, SEO-heavy articles. What people do have time for is short stuff. Think: 500-word articles, recaps of stories, daily roundups, etc. Summaries will reign in 2019. When creating content, keep in mind that attention spans are short, and we’re in the golden age of multitasking. Abbreviate, abbreviate, abbreviate.

Examples: Sip by Product Hunt, the Reforge blog, New York Times’ The Daily, Quartz Brief.

Continue reading

Favorite books of 2018.

Out of all the books you read in a given year, what percentage do you LOVE?

My rate was pretty high this year, higher than past years. I also read more than I ever have before: 105 books. My keys to reading a lot kinda seem like cheating: 1) read a big variety including graphic novels and kids’ books, 2) read short books to keep up your momentum, and 3) quit a book when you’re not enjoying it. Nevertheless, I made it through 100, and liked and loved a majority.

Continue reading

Against Resilience

You’ve had a rotten day, a rotten week. Something in your personal life isn’t going your way, or something at work is eating at you.

What do you do with those feelings?

You bury them.

You ignore them.

You push them down, and you get work done.

After all, you are Resilient.

Wait, wait, wait …. really? Is that what resilience has become?

Continue reading

Freebie: Marketing budget spreadsheet

Free marketing budget template (screenshot)

Get the free budget spreadsheet

This is the marketing spreadsheet I use for my 10-person team at Buffer. Feel free to grab a copy and use however you see fit.

A couple words of explanation:

  • The main sheet pulls some numbers from the Software and Advertising sheets. If you’d prefer not to track things so granularly, you’re welcome to remove those sheets and formulas and enter everything into the main Overview sheet.
  • The Line Items sheet is intended to hold all the individual expenses that come through on a given month. For instance, I’ll track Continuing Education and Travel/Lodging there, but I won’t track salaries and payroll.

Other than that, you should be good to go!

If you have any questions or want to chat about this, send me an email or find me on Twitter / LinkedIn!

51 questions to ask your teammates in 1:1s, surveys, and self-reviews

Here are my favorite questions to ask in weekly 1:1s, team surveys, and self-reviews. I love these questions, and I hope you do, too.

My all-time favorite questions

1. When was the time you enjoyed working here the most?

2. Do you feel overworked, underworked, or just the right workload?

3. Who do you really admire? Why? (People often admire those they want to become.)

4. Have you seen something recently and thought to yourself “I wish we’d done that”?

5. Have you seen someone here do great work that’s gone unnoticed?

Continue reading