A manager's primary role is relationship-oriented; managers often are the bridge between strategy and execution, the translator from top-level plans to front line activities.

Managers shoulder an incredible responsibility.

Managers are responsible for achieving high level goals through the collective efforts of their team. How they interact with their team members dictates the success of the team. From communicating and planning goals, aligning activities with those goals, facilitating progress updates along the way, and providing coaching in response to those updates.

If managers are so important, why are they not better supported?

So many managers today are thrust into such positions due to circumstance and are underprepared as a result. These heroes that step up to the plate in times of need, the people that rise to the call of opportunity, are simply trying to do what they can to help their team. Unfortunately, the right support systems are not always in place when someone steps into a managerial position for the first time.

So what?

Well, nothing I’ve said so far is anything groundbreaking. If anything, any managers reading this, old and new, are probably thinking to themselves “I could’ve written this.”

I know. That’s the point. Many of us share these same experiences and feelings.

I believe that the answer to this problem may not be to attack it directly. The solution here isn’t to demand better training, tools and support for new managers from every employer. These things would’ve been provided already if that were a realistic option.

Why do we think managers need Topicflow’s help?

We at Topicflow were all in management positions prior to starting Topicflow, and desperately wanted something like Topicflow to help us out.

We are our own first customer and biggest power user. Our goal is to solve real problems that we experience; the same problems that you experience, and many more may experience in the future… unless we do something about it.

Topicflow has a 2-pronged approach to helping managers.

#1: Your interactions

You could think of meetings as expression of a manager's entire role; the incarnation of two or more people interacting with one another in pursuit of a mutually desired outcome.

This is the primary reason as to why Topicflow even exists: we set out from the very beginning with managers in mind, and we’ve pinpointed meetings as the best place to meet managers in order to assist them.

Meetings: this is when managers need us most.

One of Topicflow’s primary purposes in that capacity is to improve the quality of every interaction.

We aim to do this by incorporating your work into each conversation in a meaningful way. Meeting notes shouldn’t be just text, or a list of things that have been done since last time. That is exactly the type of meeting that should be an email. Topicflow aims to breed richer conversations, ones that focus on what’s happening next. Managers already have enough dashboards and reports to find out what’s happened since last week. If we can connect the dots from “what just happened” to “what needs to happen next” within the context of a real interaction between a manager and their reports, then we can finally see the whole picture: past actions, present sentiment, and future-focused ideas. Only then can we begin to move things forward as a team.

#2: Your Time

We want to give managers back their time.

Topicflow is designed to not only make meetings better, but make them reach their purpose faster. What do I mean by that? I mean faster prep via meeting-prep-automation and smart features that relieve you of lengthy prep work.

Expedited, thorough meeting prep translates to simple conversations. Real data lays the foundation for healthy conversations, where each participant’s perspective can come together to layer over the data in a meaningful way. This combination of objective and subjective working in unison is what people have always striven for in conversations.

Meetings that reach their purpose faster ultimately translates to you having more time in your day to focus on the things that you’ve been meaning to make time for:

  • Seeking out a mentor and scheduling weekly touchpoints for coaching
  • Assessing and improving the systems that relate to your team
  • Evaluating new tools that could enhance your team’s performance, or old tools that don’t suit your team the way they once did
  • Removing blockers from your team members’ work
  • Developing incentives for growth that your team really care about

If we can reduce every meeting you have by 20-30%, then you can spend that time however you see fit in order to improve yourself as a manager and your team’s performance.

That’s the real key here.

I haven’t said anything you don’t already know in this article, and we both know it. That’s why Topicflow isn’t trying to train you to be a better manager, you’re already great. The same intuition that got you to this point is the same intuition that’s going to keep propelling you forward. What you need is enough time in the day to act on it, and that’s why Topicflow is mission critical for managers.

Sorry not sorry

I know you came here for a blog and what you just read is clearly a sales pitch. I want to take this moment to say I’m not sorry and I look forward to giving you a tour of Topicflow next week. I can be reached at nic@topicflow.com.