However, what’s not said often enough is that it’s possible to go too far the other way.
In a bid to avoid being labelled a micromanager, and often because of bad experiences with former bosses, some managers move towards the other extreme. They take pride in being totally hands-off and ‘getting out of the way’ of their team.
The underlying assumption: As Bauer says ‘the advice that you need to simply stay out of people’s way assumes those people always have the skills, maturity and organizational context to make the right choice for themselves and the company.’ When she lays it out like that, it is obvious that this won’t always be the case.
Putting the group over the individual: there will be times where you as the manager have the greater skills, maturity, and context to understand that a colleague’s chosen course of action is not going to achieve the best result for the team. At this point, the right thing to do is to get in their way, to say ‘no’, and explain why.
This can be uncomfortable: that’s not to say this process is easy. As Bauer acknowledges, team members may be resistant to your decision. The onus is on you to build the trust in you and your decision-making that when it happens, it’s a learning experience rather than an adversarial clash. It’s also why offering ongoing context to your team members is so important. If they are making decisions based on the same understanding of the org that you have, it should reduce the number of times you have to step in.
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