What would a story about business practices be without a Peter Drucker quote?
“So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.” – Peter Drucker
New manager soften make the mistake of feeling like they have to make every decision – and exert control over subordinates – rather than leading. The manager often feels more comfortable when they can put in strict controls on everything that happens. They do that at their own peril – the controls can often provide a disincentive for other managers and employees to implement the culture. This is so especially of Senior Management where the controls can erode creative freedom for the middle managers to work towards achieving goals.
Instead, try these five steps:
- Inject the Culture into everyoneYou want to provide your team with enough understanding so they can apply the culture themselves without your guidance. Would you rather have to tell them what to do or know the culture so well they can make smart decisions within the guidelines you’ve established.
- Avoid Centralizing Decision MakingYou feel by centralizing decision making you will be able to avoid poor decisions. Unless your managers can make mistakes and learn from them you will never be able to develop expertise through experience. Centralizing decision making is also the surest method to kill your business growth.
- Provide “Working Space” for OthersIt’s important to set goals and deadlines. It helps to let your reports set their own deadlines. As long as you can live with them, it gives them more accountability and less ability to feel like a deadline was imposed on them unfairly. As a leader, you have to try to rein in your anxiety or aggressiveness and start chasing your subordinate for action and results. If you do it too soon and too often, you limit the working space of your managers. They may spend more time compiling reports rather than focusing on operational priorities and important tasks.If you are not providing sufficient working space for your managers, important tasks may be neglected.
- Listen, Listen, ListenWhile experience is an asset, it can also lead to arrogance. “The Boss Is Always Right” doesn’t work if you want to build a strong organization. Cultivate the ability to listen to your managers and employees. They likely know the process better than you do. Letting them be part of the discussion gives them a feeling of “team” and can help provide buy-in for whatever you do decide.
- Don’t Get Into the WeedsYou need to know the plan – and it helps to understand the process – but the people that have to carry out the plan need to help build the plan. Once broad goals and objectives are set with specific time frames and KPI’s are agreed to, let your managers perform. Set up reasonable check point and reviews to make mid-course corrections.
The key to managing effectively is empowering people across the management structure and getting them to buy-in. They have to understand the culture and feel they have a say in the outcome. Authority and Responsibility can be powerful motivators.