Identify Your Management Style – Micro-Management or Empowerment?
If you run your own business, and perhaps have moved from being the only employee, to having a number of employees working for you, it can be a challenge to let go and to allow your employees to get on with the job you took them on to do, instead of resorting to micro-management. You must learn to accept that not everyone does their job the same way that you would do it. You might even be surprised to find that your employees can do the job even better than you can. When employees are added to the team, the CEO’s new job is to coach the team and to focus their personal energy on what is most important for the success of the business.
If you micro-manage your staff, you need to take a long hard look at your own performance. If you are busy watching, listening to subordinates, and even harrassing them all day long, how are you managing to get your own work done? Managing people is all about setting the direction that you wish employees to follow, and then standing back so that they can succeed.
The reality is, that it is often hard to let go. You may frequently feel that the employees need your direct input on even the smallest task, in order for them to succeed. This is a huge and costly mistake to make and you must avoid it. The most productive employees are those that are empowered. They should be given responsibilty for doing their job to the best of their ability, and they must be held accountable for the results that they achieve.
Periodic performance reviews and recommended course corrections are fine once they take place within the confines of a formal performance management system. Daily or hourly feedback on performance is both a hindrance to high performance and harmful to inter-personal dynamics within your team. As a business owner or CEO, try to have open dialogue with your people and above all, learn to trust.
It is a truism that most people are naturally focused on doing a good job, particularly if the business is focused on empowering employees. Employees thrive on being innovative, and they will consistently deliver when allowed to achieve the aims of their job without being told every step they must take along the way. There is tremendous satisfaction for employees who are allowed to do things their own way, particularly when they achieve extraordinary results. Only a minority of people are lazy and will not do their job unless the boss is sitting at their shoulder. It comes down to your recruitment and selection process as well as the culture of your business.
The recruitment and selection techniques you use will determine the type of employees you bring to the team. You should focus on attracting and recruiting “A“ level players that lift the performance of the team as a whole. I discuss the best way to do this in a different article which you can find here – https://howsmybusinessdoing.com/what-is-topgrading-and-how-can-i-use-it-to-hire-the-best-employees/
Culture comes not only from the leadership you provide at the top, but also from encouraging every employee to lead in relation to everything they do in their job. If they are not fearful of making mistakes and the prospect of getting punished, they will be more likely to consistently outperform.
There is also the Pygmalion effect to contend with. This essentially says that if your employees are treated with respect and there is an expectation that they will perform their duties well, then they will naturally perform at the expected level or better. On the other hand, if they are treated with suspicion and that there is an expectation that they will mess up, then it is likely that they will in fact mess up.
If you are micro-managing your colleagues and subordinates it’s time to get a life. If you are over-zealous in your supervision, you are taking away from your colleagues’ natural problem solving capabilities, while forcing them to do things your way. Your way may not in fact be the right way.
So how do you change the dynamic in your relationships so that micro-managing can be eliminated from your business? I would recommend that you consider reading Unconainable by Kip Tindell, published by Grand Central Publishing. Tindell started off a retail business in Dallas, Texas in the seventies. The book charts Tindell’s successful business – The Container Store – from its beginning in 1978 to 2014, when his book was published. The Container Store now has retail outlets across the United States, 6,000 employees, and has been voted one of the Top 100 Companies to work for for 15 consecutive years, by Fortune Magazine.
Tindell developed a number of core principles that underpin the business and everything it does:
- One great person is equal to three good people
- Fill the other guy’s basket to the brim. Making money then becomes an easy proposition
- Ask questions to establish a customer’s needs and then uncover needs the customer did not even know they had
- Communication is leadership
- Offer the best selection, the best service and the best price
- Invest heavily in training your people
- Create an air of excitement in the business
The interesting thing that is revealed again and again in Tindell’s book is that success comes from empowerment of employees, respect for the individual, going the extra mile for customers, delivering consistent and tangible value, and complete transparency in communication and information sharing. And, there were zero redundancies at the Container Store during the recession, when competitors were shedding employees like crazy. Surprisingly, this is the anti-thesis of how most businesses operate.
If you want to succeed as a business leader, all you need to do is focus upon delivering upon your own objectives, perhaps by observing some of the principles underpinning the Container Store, and be a cheer leader for your employees. You need to lead from the front rather than push from the rear.