Managing a team is a skillful balancing act. How do you hold people accountable while empowering them to do their best work? On one hand, you have the work to be done—the business to be performed. On the other hand, you need engaged and self-motivated and even self-managing team members. Going only one direction can cause problems.
I love to go back to management theories and one which I first studied when I was back in college is the Blake-Mouton Theory. You can Google it to learn more. This theory highlights some problematic management styles. If you are authoritarian or a control freak, you are concerned with doing it the way you know it needs to be done. My way or the highway. The other extreme is the leader who values relationships, wants harmony, and believes the work will get done. If you are this type of leader, you will not be watching what is going on. You will probably delegate and disappear. If either one of these examples sound like you, how is that working out for you?
The most desirable approach to leadership under this theory is described as the Team Leader. If you are a team leader you are leading by positive example, creating team collaboration, establishing accountability by helping members understand the benefits. Then you coach and mentor.
The biggest challenge for a new business owner or a newly appointed manager is learning to develop your team leadership style. You need to understand that what you learned to master your trade will not be enough to get results from your team. Here are just a few suggestions although there are many more details behind this.
Engage your employee from the very first day. Explain, train, encourage, and ask for input. Once you are certain that the employee understands encourage them to make decisions. Encourage the input. Then monitor. But gradually let go. Learn to look at key measurements that indicate the employee is on track such as number of calls answered, complaints resolved, orders processed, customer feedback and other key areas related to business outcomes. Then you get out of the details.
Instead of watching the details and the minutia keep your eye on the direction of your company or department and the overall results. Set up overarching monitors and measurements to measure the overall direction and attainment of results. Likewise, when you see a key business measurement change you ask your employees why and ask how it will be corrected. You maintain control but you are not controlling. You have more important things to do such as promoting the growth of your business.
Get out of the way. Get out of the details. Let go, let them drive and watch your stress level decrease and your business or your career grow.
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