Running a business can be challenging, and managing a team of employees is arguably one of the more difficult aspects of the job. Not only do you have your team with very different personalities, learning styles and strengths and weaknesses to deal with, but you also have your own management style and inclinations that can often complicate things further. I’ve seen many well-meaning business owners lose years of growth and scaling because of their own bad habits. That’s why it’s important to understand where you fall on the management spectrum. Once you have a good idea of where you fall, you can make the necessary changes to make it better if necessary.
The dreaded micromanager.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked a business owner what kind of manager they are and they replied, “oh, well I’m not a micromanager….I know!” Being a micromanager gets a bad rap, but it’s known for a reason. Many entrepreneurs have trouble letting go. They think they are the only ones who know the ins and outs of their business and struggle to let go and delegate things to their team. And when they do, they feel the overwhelming urge to oversee every detail to make sure it’s done correctly.
Not only does this drive your employees to look for work elsewhere, but it also stifles the creativity of those who do stay there. Your employees may have skills or experiences that can help you grow your business even faster, but you’re silencing them by micromanaging their every move.
The relaxed abdicator.
At the other end of the spectrum is the relaxed abdicator. Now, at first glance, this type of manager seems like a better alternative. Employees are free to use their creativity and come up with solutions to problems as they arise. But what often happens is that this type of management style ultimately leaves employees in the dark without important details about higher-level projects and objectives. They can miss deadlines, and managers in this area often miss important reporting details and leave their team in the dark. Which over time could lead to the same problems as micromanaging, losing key team members and slowing growth.
Somewhere in the middle.
For most of you, you probably fall somewhere in between the two extremes. For some projects or collaborators, you tend to float and micromanage. You may feel that they do not have the skills needed to do the job correctly or that they have been burned in the past with other employees. Others on your team may not hear from you often and wonder if you have any idea what they’re up to.
If you want to improve your management skills, the key is twofold. Get to know your employees first and discover how they want to lead. Some employees like to check in often and receive very detailed instructions for tasks and projects. Others like the challenge of having a broad overview and then having the freedom to fill in the details along the way. Take notes on each team member and how they prefer to receive their project transfers. Second, get used to delegation. Practice handing over projects in the desired method and make notes of what worked and what didn’t and adjust if necessary. Over time, you will become a better manager and leader for your team. Good luck!
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.
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