Micromanagement vs employee accountability: Trusting your team to do the right thing

Micromanagement vs employee accountability: Trusting your team to do the right thing
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Published November 6th, 2016 - 10:50 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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It’s important to put procedures into place so your team knows how to properly handle issues that may frequently arise. (Shutterstock)
It’s important to put procedures into place so your team knows how to properly handle issues that may frequently arise. (Shutterstock)

Question: Hi. I’m the Creative Director at an international advertising agency in Dubai. I manage a team of designers, copywriters and media specialists. From my experience, I have learned that micromanaging people isn’t the best way to go. In fact, I believe that micromanaging creative people, specifically, is a terrible idea. Micromanaging is a waste of time for everyone involved: employees never grow, they become demotivated and lose interest in their work. My question is, how do I successfully manage a group of people without losing control? And how do I walk that very delicate line and keep my team accountable for their work while not looking like a micromanager? Thanks. Mohammad.

Answer: Hi Mohammad. Many managers are afraid of being taken for granted that they morph into a micromanager. Accountability is about trusting your employees to do the right thing, whereas micromanagement is based on a lack of trust. If you’ve ever worked for a control freak, then you’re already aware that micromanagement is counter-productive and stressful for both the manager and his or her team. Thankfully, there are a handful of simple things you can do to keep your team accountable.

Here are five ways I recommend you can use to hold your team accountable.

1. Set clear expectations

The first step is to be crystal clear about what you expect. This means being clear about the outcome you’re looking for, how you’ll measure success, and how people should go about achieving objectives. It doesn’t all have to come from you. In fact, the more skilled your people are, the more ideas and strategies should be coming from them. Have a genuine two-way conversation, and before it’s over, ask the other person to create their own SMART objectives, summarize the important pieces, and share the outcome they’re going for; how they are going to achieve it, and how they’ll know whether they’re successful or not.

2. Systemize processes

It’s important to put procedures into place so your team knows how to properly handle issues that may frequently arise. For example, what should they do if they’re running late to a job? What’s the procedure for handling on-the-job problems or mistakes? Who should be notified when complaints are received? By systemizing processes and putting reporting procedures into place, it makes it easier for team members to solve problems head-on rather than attempt to hide them. The majority of respondents (88.2%) to the Bayt.com ‘Teams in the MENA Workplace’ poll, October 2016, believe that their teams work effectively together, with 47.9% stating that teamwork is ‘very’ effective. A sensible early action is to ensure that your people have the resources and information they need to do their job. This might include providing training, equipment, and access to mentors and coaches.

3. Re-engage

Think about how you feel when you’re doing work that you love or care deeply about. You take responsibility for your actions, simply because you have a deep sense of pride in what you’re doing. The same will likely hold true for your team members: show them that you care and re-engage them, and you will be able to lead them down the path towards personal responsibility. Your employees will be more engaged if their career aspirations are understood and their work aligns with their values. Talk to them and find out what their values and aspirations are, then, illustrate how their daily tasks and responsibilities align with these values and aspirations.

4. Encourage communication

One of the biggest mistakes managers make is failing to communicate. It’s important to create an environment where people are honest, communicate openly and share ideas without the fear of being judged. Failing to inform your employees when minor mistakes are made is unfair to them, and sets a bad example for other employees. According to the ‘Teams in the MENA Workplace’ poll by Bayt.com, almost seven in 10 respondents say that communication between members on their teams is open and participative. By the same token, when one of your employees is going above and beyond, it’s important to praise that person in public in order to both provide recognition and motivation to the rest of the team.

5. Embrace mistakes

Nobody likes mistakes. They’re bad news for your customer, your business, and the employee who makes them. However, when your employees don’t feel comfortable approaching you when a mistake is made, the problem can escalate and become much worse. The goal here is to make it safe for your employees to approach you with problems. Turn mistakes into lessons. Schedule weekly meetings, and during these meetings, consider having each employee share an issue they encountered and talk about how they fixed it. This is not only an opportunity for your team members to speak up when mistakes occur, but to also learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others.

This article originally appeared in Bayt.com.

This article and all other intellectual property on Bayt.com is the property of Bayt.com. Reproduction of this article in any form is only permissible with written permission from Bayt.com.



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