3 tips for team leads to successfully report to their CEO
In a growing startup, many teams and projects evolve rapidly. CEOs have to adapt to handing over projects to team leads and stepping away from certain company activities. As a team lead, you are constantly taking over new projects and new team members, so finding the best structure is not so easy. That’s why successful reporting to your CEO is crucial, especially in fast-paced business environments, to adapt to changing hierarchies, structures and collaborate more effectively.
Reporting to your boss not only keeps them in the loop of your projects, but also makes both you and your team's efforts and successes more visible, while also getting to hear their feedback if needed.
Reporting to your CEO shouldn’t happen casually: some thought should be put into it, to keep communication as efficient as possible and avoid wasting time. That's why we want to share some insights on how our team leads report to our CEO Sophie, in order to help you to successfully report to your own boss.
#1 find the right balance
Reporting is something you perform with your CEO in addition to your core tasks. That is why you want to maximize efficiency and find the right balance between your actual work, time, and needs and those of your CEO.. You don’t want to spam your boss with page-long emails including super detailed information and numbers, and you also want to avoid them having to actively ask you for updates unless they are asking about a specific task or subject.
At audvice, our team leads schedule monthly reporting calls with our CEO Sophie. In these calls they report on their accomplishments and the challenges they are facing, whilst also asking for assistance or input if needed. But as monthly updates are not as frequent as you need them to be when you are a fast-growing company, we also want our CEO to get a weekly overview of what is going on in each department.
That is why every team lead records weekly playlists, which they then share with Sophie in our teams' audio library, directly via the groups we have created in audvice for each team. That way, not only can Sophie listen in, but the rest of the department also gets to hear an overview of the previous week. These playlists are time-efficient and you can record and listen asynchronously, while still providing the right context, not as easily achieved via only email. You can check out a reporting style playlist template here.
#2 structure your updates
As your updates become a regular thing (at whatever frequency), you want to make sure to always structure them the same way, so that both parties become accustomed quickly, and always know what to expect from these reports. Sending lengthy weekly emails with no structure or clear Call to Action will take you a long time to write and your CEO a long time to understand.
Structuring your updates is super easy if you use the template mentioned above. Let’s talk it through track by track, so you can get an idea of how our team leads structure their updates:
Top News: Get your CEO's attention right away, starting off with the most pressing news and updates
Highlights: Shine some light on you and your team's accomplishments by talking your CEO through the highlights of the week or month
Lowlights: Honesty goes a long way. Make sure to be transparent about the challenges you are facing, and don’t hesitate to ask for input
Numbers: Sometimes numbers speak louder than words. Make sure to list some important ones to help back up information from the other tracks
Outlook: Quickly talk about upcoming plans and set realistic expectations
We store these playlists in the groups we created directly in audvice for each department. That way, they are all stored in one place, and everyone can circle back on them at any time to refresh their memories. Remember: Keep it relevant and to the point, as you don’t want to take too much time out of your CEO's day.
#3 tailor it to your CEO
The faster your company is growing, the less frequently you’ll interact with your CEO, as their attention will be needed elsewhere. That is why these reports are the perfect opportunity for you to increase your visibility and foster a relationship with your boss. The best way to do that is to tell them exactly what they want to hear – not necessarily in terms of the content of your updates, but rather how you report them.
You need to update them in a way that ensures you get the attention and input you desire. You need to understand their personality, and operating styles, in order to figure out what information they want to hear and in which format.
Do you have a boss with micromanager tendencies? Then you can get deeper into the subject and ask for more input. For example, you could easily attach a PowerPoint presentation with KPIs in the description of your playlist, which your CEO can look into while listening to your updates. You can also add a track to your playlist, called “Requests”, and directly ask for input. Your CEO can then quickly record a playlist themselves, and provide the input you ask for in a few tracks. If your boss is more a “laissez-faire” kind of person, they’ll be happy with a short but insightful playlist with the most relevant news.
You can also think about when to send your reports to your CEO. Are they an early bird or a night owl? Maybe they take a long time commuting to the office, so they have time to listen to your updates while they’re on their way to work.
Once you have found the right balance, make sure to stay as efficient as possible. Tailor your reports and make sure to make the most out of them, for both you and your CEO. If you like what you’ve read, and want to know more about audvice and how it can help you with reporting, make sure to get a product demo here.