Early in the year I wrote about my personal vision to create better, happier workplaces and my commitment to focus on the management behaviors that lead to ideal workplaces. In the first blog post I shared the benefits of and best approaches to positive reinforcement. This week we’ll look at getting out of your team’s way. Yes, you read that right. People are happier when they have a leader who doesn’t create roadblocks and bottlenecks, and instead gets out of the way to allow the team to perform at its best.
Have you ever worked for someone whom you felt you had to work around? There’s the manager who can’t make a decision and debates and discusses an issue until you’re stuck in analysis paralysis. Then there’s the leader who is involved in so many things that progress is held up due to her busy schedule and limited availability. Or how about the department head who wants final review and approval on everything, creating unnecessary delays and bottlenecks on projects? Or the manager who believes he is the smartest person in the room and challenges others’ ideas.
These are many ways in which you can get in the way of your team’s success and performance, and thus impact morale, trust, and job satisfaction. To avoid that, take these seven steps:
- Analyze the items that come across your desk/inbox for your approval.
- Review the meetings that you call.
- Probe to understand what projects/tasks are reliant on your involvement or are dependent on your review.
- Honestly and aggressively consider all of this data and question why you are involved in each item, meeting, project, etc.
- Aim to cut your approvals, meetings, and project involvement in half.
- Ask yourself:
- In what ways am I micromanaging my team?
- What expertise and skills exist on the team?
- How can I leverage their expertise and skills more?
- Look at your approach to decision making. How might your decision making be holding back your team?
When you micromanage and overly insert yourself in your team’s work, you send a message that you don’t trust them. When you are wishy-washy in decisions and overthink issues, you prevent your team from taking action and achieving goals.
Getting out of the way is a leadership skill. Trusting your team, pushing down authority, and delegating responsibility to members of the team, as well as providing them the tools to be successful without doing things yourself, will heighten performance, build strength on your team, and create a happier, healthier workplace.
In what ways are you getting in the way of your team’s success? How can you step aside and support instead?
Please leave a comment.
If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.
For coaching support as you take these important steps, contact Robyn at email@example.com.
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Great read, Lisa! At times, micromanaging to performance is essential to getting people to where they say they want to go. Micromanagement is a taboo word but has its place with one’s children, friends, and team members. Agreed upon expectations must be met or renegotiated. When neither is the case, a leader has the obligation to lean in with compassion. Until performance is sustained, the leader must manage performance at the micro level (e.g., establish time management habits, facilitate organization, create strong accountability to appropriate methods & metrics). When performance is on track, the leader has the same obligation to trust and let go. In this way, micromanaging looks more like leading the way as opposed to getting in the way.
Thank you for your thoughts Ozzie. To be clear, we believe – and teach – that even when you are managing to performance, which is crucial to do, you still need to and can step away from micromanaging. From what we’ve seen, micromanaging only shuts people down.