Sunday, April 14, 2013

Are you a Micro-Manager?

There are five management styles.

One way is to not manage at all. Maybe coach a little bit; maybe not. This is the non-manager (Laissez-Faire) and it doesn't work except for an office of 2. People need direction. They need a Leader.

Another way is to be a micro-manager or autocrat, where there is one authority who has his hand in every pie making the final decision. It doesn't scale. It represents a lack of trust in employees. It stifles ideas and innovation. Eventually stuff falls through the cracks.

When I say it doesn't scale, I mean there is no way to manage a growing organization with micro-management. Delegation is required. One reason is so that the top executive(s) can work ON the business instead of IN it. Someone has to see the big picture, plan for it, strategize.

Tom Peters champions Management by Walking Around (MBWA). Sitting in meetings all day can fill your schedule, but does that get the goals of the company accomplished often. MBWA allows the boss to set the tone. Culture works best top down, not trying to percolate up. Listening to employees and providing recognition as well as feedback allows for a mentor role that produces results.

Management has two roles: strategy and execution. Under execution, it is to provide a work environment free of fear and hurdles that allow for employee production.

Communication is a key to success. Most companies communicate externally, forgetting that internal communications is just as important. In fact, Zappos CEO has the theory that if you take care of employees, employees will take care of customers. By walking around, employees can hear what is going on.

One big problem in companies is that there isn't enough management training. People get promoted but aren't talk how to manage. It isn't an innate skill - any more than sales skills are or common sense is.

Get some feedback from your employees on how they would like to be managed; on what obstacles are in their way to excellence; and on the communication level. It is a big start.

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