Word on the block suggests that, over the past year of remote working, many managers have fallen into one of these traps:
- micromanaging, causing additional stress to their teams
- giving too much autonomy, leaving people feeling unsupported
There are, of course many who have got it just right, leading with light-touch control with clear boundaries and clear expectations, and exercising the right amount of compassion and empathy according to each individual’s needs.
As we go forward and rebuild our economy, those managers using inappropriate styles must be supported to adapt. We must not just leave them to fail. The costs, social and financial, are too high. This is not just about providing appropriate learning and development for these people, though that is important, it is also about the right systems and processes.
The first is around how we establish those boundaries and expectations. Businesses have much to learn from those who have got the leadership balance right over the past year. How did they set expectations? How did they keep people on track? How did they measure results?
When you have answered these questions, the next step is to lead discussions across peer groups of managers to establish consistency, but also to raise performance by being clear about what differentiates good from great.
What was the outstanding result? What made it outstanding? How did the person achieve that? How can that be extended across the team?
The last time I chaired a discussion along these lines, the sales team realised that they had previously focused on inputs – how regularly each sales executive kept in touch with their clients – how many cold calls they made – how quickly they brought clients into a deal. Instead, what really mattered was that they knew their clients well enough to know which clients to bring into which deal and when. This firm changed the way it set expectations, the way it defined the role, and trained new people and this impacted positively on the bottom line. It also raised leadership skills.
Word on the block suggests that, over the past year of remote working, many managers have fallen into one of these traps. Micromanaging, causing additional stress to their teams, giving too much autonomy, leaving people feeling unsupported.
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©Janice Caplan 2020