How to help your team decide in your absence
Being a new manager shouldn’t stop you from being a good leader.
This is a situation new managers may identify with. You have a young team that you trust but you’re worried about their decision-making. You find yourself having to intervene every now and then and nudging them in the right direction. While with time your team seems to follow you better, you’re still not sure if they’re on the same page.
The worst thing you could do in such a situation is expect your team to read your mind. Even if your team gets it right once, there’s no guarantee they’ll do so consistently. Perhaps a shade better on your part is to wait for your team to ask you about what you care about.
And if you’re a reportee, here’s a tip from Julie Zhuo, author of The Making of a Manager, on how to better understand what your boss wants. 𝐀𝐬𝐤 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐛𝐨𝐬𝐬 “𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮?” / “𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐠𝐨?” 𝐎𝐫 𝐚𝐬𝐤 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐬 “𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐗 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭?”
As a leader, clarifying what’s most important to you can empower your team. Once you share what success looks like to you, you may be surprised by how swiftly your team aligns itself to your priorities. At once they feel clear about what they will be judged on and that helps them deliver much better results.
In situations where external uncertainty makes a rethink necessary, you could clarify the “as long as….” 𝘞𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘦 𝘳𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘤𝘬 𝘭𝘰𝘸-𝘤𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘴 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘴 𝘸𝘦’𝘳𝘦 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘳.
It is not uncommon for young conscientious managers to want to leave nothing to chance. They may feel the urge to always be present. End up spending their weekends on email and chat. This may appear to the team as micromanagement, and no one would be happier for the experience.
These are all symptoms of the same root problem. Shane Parrish strikes at the heart of it: 𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐥𝐞𝐟𝐭 𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲’𝐫𝐞 𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮.
If you want your team to perform to your standards, be clear about what you want from them. Once you do that, you can gradually make your position redundant. That’s the mark of a good leader.
Would be insightful to hear from experienced leaders in my network about how they help their teams decide without needing them. This may be very useful for new managers.