Hey there! If you've clicked on this article, you're probably either curious about the term 'direct reports' or you've just been promoted and are freaking out about managing people. Don't fret! In Startup Land, everything is a learning opportunity (with a sprinkle of caffeine and chaos). Let's break this down, shall we?

Direct Reports: The What

Imagine you're playing a game of human Jenga. Now, you're a piece in the middle, and there are a few pieces directly on top of you. These "top" pieces? They're your direct reports—the individuals who directly report to you at work. They're your team members, your right-hand people, the ones you're responsible for guiding and leading. You're their go-to person for work challenges, career advice, and the occasional "where's the new coffee machine?" query.

Winning Their Hearts: The How

Navigating the world of managing direct reports in a high-speed startup can feel like teaching cats to line dance. But fear not! With emphasis on authenticity, connection, and autonomy, here are some epic ways to build fab relationships:

  1. Keep it Real: This ain't the time for corporate jargon or buzzwords. Speak your truth. If you don't know, admit it. Authenticity is the currency of trust. Best place to start in my opinion? With a Candor profile.
  2. Listening Ears On: In between chugging your third espresso, take the time to genuinely listen to your team. Understand their concerns, aspirations, and that hilarious story about their cat's new fascination with Zoom calls.
  3. Autonomy is Key: We’re in a startup, not a kindergarten. Micromanaging is the quickest way to a mutiny. Trust your team. Delegate, and then step back. Remember, autonomy breeds innovation.
  4. Feedback Sandwich: Feedback is essential, but nobody likes a raw deal. Present it as a sandwich: positive feedback, constructive criticism, and end on a positive note. Yum! More feedback frameworks here.
  5. Water-cooler Moments: In the hustle and bustle, don’t forget to take a break. Join your team for a coffee or a quick video game sesh. Connection happens in those random, unplanned moments.
  6. Grow Together: Invest in their growth. Workshops, courses, or simply brainstorming sessions. When they grow, you grow.

In conclusion, dear reader, 'direct reports' might sound intimidating, but remember, they're humans like you (just with less caffeine). In the fast-paced, ever-evolving startup realm, always prioritize connection and authenticity. And hey, a little humor doesn’t hurt either. 😉