Managing Direct Reports at a Startup

What are Direct Reports?

How to Manage Direct Reports

1. Get to Know Your Team

2. Give Feedback

3. Focus on Your Team’s Growth

4. Empower Your Team

5. Use Technology When You Can

My Management “Stack”


  • Backlog — Projects that haven’t been fully planned. This is a good place to keep ideas.
  • Planning — Projects that are being fleshed out. Usually we’re still learning about the issue or coming up with possible solutions.
  • Ready — Cards in “Ready” are prioritized and fair game for any relevant team members to start on.
  • In Progress — When team members are actively working on a project, they move it to “In Progress.”
  • Done — After they’re done, the card is moved to “Done” where we archive old cards after a few weeks.
  • Recurring — Some tasks come back every month or week, so for this we use Trello’s card repeater and bring them back every week or month.


Google Suite

Status Hero



Recommended Reading

Business Adventure by John Brooks

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George

The Decision Maker by Dennis Bakke




Former startup CTO turned writer. Founder of

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Weeknotes 33: inspiration, accessibility and sharing our work

Experience with job search during COVID-19

Meet Matt Young, BetterCloud’s New VP of Sales

The GHC 2018 Journey — NerdWallet

The Wisdom of Teams

10 Questions with Gabriela Martinez

New Tools — New Headaches

Develop Your Leadership Collaboration Skills

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Karl L Hughes

Karl L Hughes

Former startup CTO turned writer. Founder of

More from Medium

Setting Up Redis And Celery To Work With Django On Windows (Asynchronous Execution)

Cinematographer Omar Ragab Leads Behind the Lens

Micro Frontends — Static vs Framework — Overview | Fathym LowCodeUnit Beta

Google Jamboard Vs Dojoit