We already discussed some time ago on the perils and the opportunities embedded in micromanaging especially in the case of new managers.
I recently came through an article from Dan Travieso at fast company where he deals smartly on micro management.
The part I really liked most is where everything starts from accepting that most of the managers are micro ones: “If we can accept the fact that most of us are micromanagers, then there is hope”
One particular fear each one has is the one related to controlling the work and Dan suggests how to handle it: “[...] Empowering employees does not mean that managers can’t track the status of the project. After all, senior managers and stakeholders are going to hold the manager responsible for meeting the objectives, not the employees. Managers can obtain feedback by requesting periodic (daily, weekly, etc.) updates and by checking in with their employees. Simply ask the employees how things are progressing–have they run into any challenges? Do they foresee anything preventing them from meeting the objectives? Let the employees tell you what is going on. Listen to what they are saying, don’t direct. [...]”
For sure establishing clear objectives ad a timeline to achieve the really helps in general terms, though having your people accountable for something is not simply letting them go: the reliability of the accountability takes time, support and a good set of controls to avoid pitfalls.
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All of us know the difference in dealing with a motivated team and a non motivated one: much effort and much struggling in the second case.
And without any doubt, being able to motivate your team represents for sure a key resource for you as a manager and a killer skill to be a leader.
Themotivationalguy wrote an article at Blanchard LeaderChat to deal on this topic.
Essentially the topic goes through the issue that to achieve something you have to be either lucky or motivated. Better to have a little bit of both.
And motivation is not a one hundred meters run but rather a marathon with ups, downs and lot of pain in the middle.
So how to deal with this important but definitely difficult task?
- Starting with the right foot: “The path to competitive advantage is paved with autonomy, relatedness, and competence. Focus on honoring employees’ legitimate needs for a sense of freedom in their work, their natural desire for warm relationships that are free of manipulation, and the natural striving for ongoing competence and growth.”
- Options are good: “Offer as many options as possible when making requests for action, and make them true options. [...]“
- Praise is fundamental when learning: “Highlight the extraordinary learning that everyone is doing, particularly when times are tough. “
- Aim long and short: “Balance focus on final results with focus on team, community, and collective effort.[...]“
Image by zandi2000
There are moments when managing gets into detail and there are others when stays high level.
In general terms I think that delegating and assigning objectives is a good way to achieve results, but sometimes is needed (for example if your team or part of it is weak and not replaceable) that you dig into details. May not be a good way to manage, but sometimes is useful.
Unfortunately if this is a choice, is not a problem. Becomes like this when you slip into micromanagement because of anxiety and low knowledge of a new role. Typically you end up in a “positive” management when you are sure of your role and skills, while you go into micromanaging when in the opposite condition.
And there’s no worst condition of being a new manager and having to reach results.
Cathy Huett at Blanchard LeaderChat deals with this through an article and gives some ideas:
- Make your leader lead.
- Organize your projects and resources.
- Let leadership trickle down.
- Trust your team members.
You can read the rest here
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Freedom of choice is a concept for which people have fought wars.
And I may guess most of us choose everyday products feeling that their choice is absolutely free and determined in some cases by the adversity or the love for a specific brand.
But as you can see in this article from Anthony Dejolde at Lifehack more or less 10 majors own quite all the brands that probably we all buy everyday.
You can try many things in your life and you can re-invent yourself quite all days all your life: occasions are around there and with a bit of luck or risk are waiting to be taken.
But there is one thing you’ll face sooner or later that requires specific knowledge and attention: being part of a project or, even better, managing one. Because while you can barely survive, learn and experiment as a project member, you cannot invent yourself project manager without a minimal basis of knowledge and of capability.
Failing to have this minimal set of skills leads, taking luck apart, to sure failure. Withe the only mitigation of some hints that other people, before you have collected on the field.
Simon Andras at Lifehack wrote an article that gives some tips on how to handle a project.
Among them I really like one that is also part of my experience: set realistic expectations. Is key and critical because raising a little bit the bar is a good way to challenge the team and gain some efficiency. Raising too much the bar will lead to frustration on the team and shame on you toward your client; my two cents on this is that is better to communicate and set a worsening in the program eventually you will recover rather than hiding (or worse: underestimating) the impacts and leave a final surprise of a non handled delay.
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I started some months ago to use Jawbone Up and realistically realized how complex can be a manager’s life simply looking at the “how I feel” icon: most of the times I had a very tired icon representing my state.
I am not a new manager and definitely have seen lot of water passing under the bridges, though I understand that being passionate about my work, most of the times I allow the work to steal my life.
Instead stopping for a while and reconsidering what is happening to you is critical to achieve your goals and collaborate with the others because avoids loosing focus and energy while interpreting this as being committed.
Cathy Huett at Blanchard LeaderChat wrote an interesting article on this topic and one take away from her article is “[...] You can’t offer your best self to any colleague or any organization if you are tired, chubby, and grumpy. Take a step back and reassess your work patterns. If you find yourself in hot water, step out while there’s still time and make some changes that are in your own best interest. You’ll be glad you did. [...]“.
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While money doesn’t buy love, it puts you in a great bargaining position.
Anonymous (image by jaz1111)
Leading a big organization in a big company has pros and contra.
I normally receive around 250 emails per day and though my PMO does a great work to help me they represent a big part of my headaches: if I am so good to dedicate 1 minute each to read and 1 minute to answer this means that in theory handling them all will require me 900 minutes per day, or 15 hours.
After which I also have to do my conference calls and normal work.
Of course reality is a little more simple because PMOs and assistants help in cutting the number of emails through a good use of delegation and part of the emails are only non useful notifications, but nevertheless, dealing with email efficiently is a tough topic on our daily desk.
Miles Kohrman at Fast Company deals on the topic in an .
The 3 rules he enforces are:
- keep address book up to date
- apply flags and rules
- polish your inbox
You can read more in his article
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Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
John F. Kennedy (image by barunpatro)
We live in a world where everything is virtual or can be so, and where it’s a given that interacting remotely is a key factor to succeed.
I came through a Chris Pirillo article on LockerGnome » Mobile Lifestyle where some reasons are given to explain why virtual is better than personal.
I think that like in every topic a good balance is what you need to choose the best way to meet your counterparts: there are moments (like for example in technical meeting or in formal updates in a project) where you can decide to go virtual and gain in terms of efficiency and costs.
There are some other cases (“crash” meetings, brainstorming, strategic meetings,…) where virtualization takes out that personal “guts” feeling that makes a lot the difference between succeeding and failing; where being there means also understanding the “corridor” or informal discussions that especially in corporations are so critical.
(Image by Krappweiss)