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Want to be a Better Manager? Get Out of the Way!

I’ve talked with hundreds of employees from all levels and types of organizations—big, small, non-profits and multi-billion dollar firms, and there is one issue that consistently comes through—no one likes being micromanaged. And this is true for front line workers as well as senior executives. Yet, despite this distaste for having a boss constantly looking over your shoulder, it is a practice that is repeated over and over again. And many of those managers are the very same people who hate when they are themselves the target of this management approach.

Bruce Katcher, PhD, a colleague and organizational psychologist, wrote the book, 30 Reasons Employees Hate Their Managers, based upon over 25 years of experience conducting employee surveys.  Not surprisingly, reason #2 is: I Know How to Do My Job, Why Can’t They Just Let Me Do It? Indeed, why can’t they? Or shall I say – why can’t we, because it appears to be something that is hard for most of us.  Good managers understand they are judged by the performance of their team, and this is especially true as they move up within a company and have larger numbers of people to manage. However, ironically, as it becomes more important to step back and give employees the space to perform, our fear that something may go wrong pushes us toward a heavier- handed approach than is usually necessary. I say “usually” because there are times when micromanagement may be required, such as with critical safety or quality issues. There are also employees who have demonstrated they need “close” management, but this should only be temporary otherwise there is a bigger problem at hand.

So if you want to be a better manager, step out of the way. Let your employees do their jobs.  Their approach may not be exactly the same as yours, and you are taking a risk that your employees could make some mistakes, but you may find yourself pleasantly surprised with the results, which will likely include greater employee commitment and satisfaction.

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Copyright © 2010 Betty Doo