Time to step up and start managing

Forget micro-managing. Right now, under-managing is the thing to avoid!

We’ve all been so busy sorting out what we’re doing with our businesses just to survive, and it’s sometimes easy to let people management tasks slide. Whether the impact of COVID-19 on your company has been positive or negative, it will have thrown out many of your best intentions and plans.

“You’re all adults, just work it out for yourselves!”

The above is an actual quote from a manager, relayed to me by an employee last week. We’ve probably all felt that way at one time about our staff.

Although it’s tempting to throw your hands up in the air and prefer to ignore or postpone our responsibilities as managers, now is not the time to do so. We can try to kick the accountability can down the road, but it will eventually roll back – often when it’s least welcome.

Your team needs your leadership with clear ‘guardrails’ so they can stay on track, especially while you are dealing with the immediate challenges you and your business face right now. They are anxious too. It won’t help them to do their best work if you give them a reason to doubt you are in control of the situation. You don’t have to micro-manage to show you’re in control.

How much more time would you have to do what you need to do if you were transparent with your team about your expectations, right from the start?

Here’s an example: One of our SME clients set these business outcomes which will appear in every position description in that (manufacturing) organisation:

  • We deliver exceptional results for our clients because:
  • All our actions, relationships, and decisions are consistent with our organisational values and purpose; and
  • We are each accountable for following the systems, policies and procedures that apply to our positions, our projects and our teams.

For this to work, everyone needs to know your business purpose and values, and have access to the systems, documented policies and procedures that are relevant to their work. If you don’t have these in place already, you could be setting yourself up for more severe pain in the future.

The most important thing now you’ve made it this far is to keep moving forward. Don’t let those people management tasks you’ve set aside become the next big crisis your business has to face.

Getting the balance right is a constant juggle. But managing people well is essential if you plan to succeed. If you’d like to share the load, you can always email or call us for a free chat.


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About Susan Rochester

Susan Rochester has been managing director of Balance at Work since 2006. Susan has a natural tendency to balance analytical thinking with an optimistic outlook to set direction and solve problems. She is an effective facilitator and constantly creates new and more effective ways of doing things, motivated by helping others to achieve their goals.

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