Manager’s Secret Second Calendar

Employees expect a lot from their managers, and as managers we do our best to meet those expectations. However most managers are only human (I’ve met a few that I had doubts about), and so it can be difficult to get absolutely everything right absolutely all the time. I’d like to share a tactic that I learned from another manager around the time that I took my first line manager role, that I think really helped me to at least give the impression that I knew what was going on: a second calendar, visible only to you, with key dates in.

Create a second calendar and set it to be private to you – but have it display in your default calendar view. To this calendar add:

  • employee start dates, and set them to repeat annually
  • team member birthdays, again with an annual repeat
  • milestones such as probation end dates, review dates, or onboarding milestones

With this in hand, you can show that you care – because you do, but it can be hard to keep the details in line. You can also make sure that everyone is getting timely support, for example in my first manager role we did onboarding check-ins at 30, 60 and 90 days – which I really liked and I added those dates to my calendar. When I then onboarded 5 new members of staff in a 6 week period and more than doubled the size of my team in the process, the calendar helped me keep track of all those milestones and not miss anything for any of my valued (but numerous) humans, and ensure I did the best job I could of getting their journey off to a flying start.

(Feel free to add personal reminders to your calendar too if that’s a good place for them, I won’t tell anyone!)

Do you have a favourite calendar hack that helps you appear clued up at work? Please share, I’m always looking for these extra ideas that can make things run more smoothly for me and for my people.

Also published on Medium.

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