The Field Guide to Leading Teams

08/26Too much automation sucks.

As a manager, it’s your job to find efficiencies and ways to automate regular processes. It’s tempting to reach for a bot for some of these tasks – but you can’t automate human interactions that build relationships. Even worse, you can damage relationships by signaling you don’t care with bots.

Icebreaker questions, for example, are designed to build relationships and trust. Through an icebreaker answer, you can learn something about your co-worker. They are no longer strangers because of that connection and you bank a tiny little bit of trust with each other.

Answering an icebreaker takes a little courage, too. You’re opening up a bit to relative strangers. So, imagine if a bot asks you this question and dutifully spits out the answer to a chat channel. Mission unaccomplished.

If a bot mediates an interaction it severely limits the amount of emotion exchange that can occur. Use bots for the regular things – work updates, task management, planning – but build bonds with regular human interaction.

Best Practices

  • You can’t automate good management.
  • Status Hero surfaces signals, but you still need to do the actual work of speaking with and managing your team.
  • You can configure Status Hero to collect check-ins via bot in Slack or Microsoft Teams. If you do that, make sure that you’re only asking for regular work reasons, not attempting to automate human connection.
  • Don’t automate icebreakers, use a Zoom call instead. The extra time is worth it for your culture.
  • Use the insights page to prep for retros and 1:1s by looking out for the signals: mood, blockers, activity, goal achievement.