Introducing the Thriving Team Checklist for Simpler Team Operations

managers team operations teams Nov 28, 2023
team operations


As managers, team leaders, and business owners, we have so much on our plate…so much that oftentimes, smaller tasks can slip through the cracks.

Does this mean we’re bad at our jobs? Does this mean we aren’t capable of managing? Not at all—it just means we need a little help keeping track of the tasks that aren’t critical for day-to-day operations, but have a big impact on our team operations overall.

To help you keep track of the tasks that will help you improve your team operations week by week, I put a resource together called the Thriving Team Checklist. Let me tell you all about it…


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10 Things To Check Off Your List

Before I go over these items, you can head over to my website and download the checklist to follow along! This will help ground you in what exactly this checklist is, and it will allow you to start checking boxes right away.

When you do these ten things every single week, your team members will be more engaged. They will feel more supported. They will feel set up for success. And in turn, they’ll do better work, making your job easier. And we all want that, don’t we?

Let’s go over the ten tasks on the Thriving Team Checklist…

Focus on the Wins

The first task is to reflect on a win you experience as a manager every week.

Now, this one is hard—and many people don’t realize how impactful it is to your overall team operations—but it really does make a difference.

When you’re feeling burned out, your team can feel that. And lot of times, it can feel like we're doing everything wrong…which is why the first thing on here is to anchor yourself in something you’ve done right.

When we do this on a weekly basis, we start to build a bigger story to refer back to when we feel like everything’s going wrong. We can remember that not everything is horrible, not everything is a mess, not everything is a disaster—because we did those things right.

It doesn't have to be a big thing. It can be something small, like “I finally got to eat lunch outside of the office.”

So start to reflect on your wins on a weekly basis, and you’ll see yourself building more resilience to whatever's thrown your way.

Ask for Feedback

The second thing you can do to improve team operations is to ask a team member for feedback every week.

When we ask for feedback, we show our team that feedback is a two-way street. We demystify feedback. We make it less scary to talk about feedback. And that’s important for the well-being of the team and the improvement of team operations.

In this situation, I love to ask for feedback by giving an example. So instead of asking or no questions—such as “Is there anything I can do to better support you?” try asking something like this…

“Hey, Sarah. I have been trying really hard to delegate more lately to get myself out of the weeds, and I’d love your feedback about how that’s going. What’s something I can do to improve?”

When we give a little bit of “bait,” as I call it, that makes it easier for a team member to give us an actual answer. Instead of asking for any kind of feedback at all—which can leave a team member scrambling for something to say, making them uncomfortable—you want to anchor the conversation in something specific.

After you solicit your specific feedback, you can ask them, “What else could be helpful for you?”

Make a note here. We don’t want to phrase it as, “Is there anything else that would be helpful for you?” Instead, we want to phrase it as, “What else could be helpful for you?”

This doesn’t give them the option of a quick “no,” and it gives them a platform to air other feedback they may have for you.

Set Clearer Expectations

Item number three on the Checklist is to set clearer expectations for a task that one of your team members seems to be getting stuck on.

I assume that you have already set some kind of expectation, and you probably thought it was clear enough, but if you see someone getting stuck, then something needs to be clarified—and that’s okay! Sometimes things get misunderstood, but taking the time to further clarify will smooth out team operations for the foreseeable future!

Deliver Positive Feedback

The fourth item on the Checklist is to deliver a piece of positive feedback and make it as specific as you can.

Giving positive feedback will boost team operations by making your team feel seen and appreciated; however, you don’t want to say, “Hey, great job showing up every day!” because that’s a bit too general. We want to be as specific as possible!

Instead, you want to point out something quantifiable that your team member did that was helpful to you. For example, you could say, “Great job in that client meeting. I really appreciated how you walked through a wide range of services that we could pair together to better support their goals, and as a result, they ended up signing on with a new contract for a whole new area that we hadn't been supporting them in before, resulting in more revenue for the business. Thank you for doing that, and please keep that up!”

Deliver Constructive Feedback

The fifth item on the Checklist for smoother, simpler team operations is to deliver a piece of constructive and specific feedback every week. Here’s an example…

“Hey, Steve. I know you've been really working on your presentation skills lately. Unfortunately, you missed a few important elements in the client pitch presentation, which resulted in the client being confused about the service and not moving forward. I know you've been really working hard on dialing in those communication skills, so I’d like to go through your presentation together first next time so that you're fully ready.”

I like this framework, because we anchored it in the idea that he wants to do better, and we want to help him do that. It's not like, “Hey Steve, you blew it with the client. You're out of here. You're a loser. You're dumb.” To keep team operations running without any feelings of inadequacy or failure, it’s best if we can present it in a way that leaves our team members feeling supported instead of shamed.



Thank Your Team Members

The sixth weekly task you can do to improve team operations is to thank a team member for something awesome they did, big or small.

This is related to positive feedback, but not the same. A lot of times, positive feedback is work-related. But when you thank someone, you should thank them for something they do that’s just part of who they are—for instance, you can say…

“I really appreciate the enthusiasm you bring to your work every day. It really creates a positive atmosphere in the office. Thank you.” or, “Hey, thank you for really being patient as we were going over that document together. That was a stressful situation, and it was helpful to have your eyes on it.”

I would suggest trying to find something to thank people for every single day, because the more we feel appreciated and seen and valued, the better work we do.

Show Up On Time

Next, show up on time to your one-on-one meetings. Do not reschedule them last minute or show up late.

Your one-on-ones (which are absolutely key to your team operations!) are the only times that your team members get your captive attention. They might've been waiting all week or more to be able to talk to you. And when we reschedule it or we show up late, it shows them that we don’t really value them.

And even if you don't mean that, even if you're bumping them because you have a great relationship and you know they'll be okay with it, it still hits hard.

Have Load-Balancing Conversations

The eighth thing to keep in mind for weekly team operations: if you notice someone getting overwhelmed by their workload, you should have a load-balancing conversation with them.

This is a good thing to do in your one-on-ones if you have them weekly, or at the beginning of other meetings. If you do it with the whole team, I like to ask people to hold up one to five fingers to indicate how they’re feeling about the upcoming week. And for the people who hold up fewer than three, I suggest checking in to see how you can support them or offload some overwhelm.

Remove An Extra Step

The ninth item on the Checklist is to remove a step from a process that is feeling overly complicated.

I love this part of weekly team operations maintenance, because my Ops Playbook is all about simplifying the way things work. So this bit of the Checklist is a great prerequisite!

You want to sit down every week and ask yourself, “What are things that slow my team down from getting things done? Do I have a budget approval process that doesn't really need to be there? Are our timesheets feeling overly complicated?”

Whatever it is, you don’t have to do a complete overhaul for this bit of simplifying team operations—just do what you can to reduce the process by one step.

Connect the Dots

Last but not least, I suggest connecting the dots between a team member's work and the priorities of the company.

This is the bread and butter of the priorities work that we do in the Ops Playbook, and this is the secret to getting your team members to see their role in building your business. This is how you get people fired up about reaching your business’s goals, because you’ve shown them how their work fits into the bigger picture.

If you're stuck on that piece of simplifying team operations, I actually linked an episode of my podcast, Managing Made Simple, in the checklist—you can head there and listen to learn how to pull this off!

Get the Checklist Now!

If you haven’t downloaded the checklist, you can find it linked below—don’t let another week go by without a tool to simplify your weekly operations!




Want a checklist of things you can do THIS month to become a better manager? Check out my Thriving Team Checklist for a list of quick actions you can take right away with your team: 

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