Finding the right approach to managing employees is often a difficult balance for mangers and business owners to acheive. Employees quickly pick up on all too familiar micromangement behaviors which lead to resentment and underperformance.
But there’s danger also in undermanagement as pointed out in this HBR article:
Take Jamie, a product development manager (he’s not a real person, but a composite of numerous people I’ve known). He knew the technical details of his team’s products well and got along well with other department heads in his division. He was a good communicator—unlike several other product development managers in the division, who were stronger on the technical side than in dealing with human beings—and his team liked working for him. They reported above-average morale, unlike many teams in the company.
But his team struggled to deliver results. For example, on large projects they had persistent trouble meeting deadlines. When this came up with Jamie’s boss and peers during management team meetings, he maintained his team couldn’t be working any harder—though other managers didn’t always agree. When Jamie’s boss or other members of the management team pressed Jamie about members of his team who might possibly be weaker links, Jamie strongly defended them. There are no weak links on my team. In baseball parlance, Jamie was “a player’s manager.”
…True, pushing your people and holding them accountable for strong performance won’t win you any popularity contests, and it requires some level of comfort with conflict. But while maintaining positive relationships with your own employees is a good thing, over the long run your priority is to deliver results.
How Not To Over Or Under Manage
It’s easy to see that there is danger in both over and under management. So, how do you avoid being at either of
the undesirable ends of this scale?
Try asking yourself and others 10 questions that can point the way to putting a balanced management approach in place:
- Do people know exactly what their roles and responsibilities are? and what is expected of them?
- Have they been delegated sufficient authority to carry out their responsibilities?
- Have people been trained on how to perform their tasks with excellence?
- Have people been coached on the important values and attitudes required in their role?
- Are there a set of understood goals for the team and individuals?
- Are there open lines of communication and respect within the company?
- Are people a good skill, attitude, and behavioral match with the roles they’re in?
- Do people feel respected and valued?
- Is my behavior helping or hindering people from doing their job?
- Are all levels of the organization committed to finding ways to improve the work environment?
It’s become a cliche to say that people are one of the company’s most valuable assets. But it’s never been truer for any size or type of business. They make decisions and products, set policies, serve clients, customers and patients, and manage all other functions of the business. They’re the face, heart, and soul of the business.
If management is sincere about continuous improvement in these areas, all employees will see and feel it. Working together to improve in these areas will stimulate ideas and dialogue that will produce a happier, more productive workplace without a shadow of either under and over management.
Caring about and taking action on it tranforms managers into leaders and employees into fans.
Photo By recombiner