Why would you hire best people and later manage them? Think about it - when you hire a clever, fast-learning, creative and mature person, it's plain stupid to then define their work in detail and measure it by millisecond. You're not only wasting your time. You also waste their potential!
Wait, it gets worse. By defaulting to the industrial-era management style you do a much bigger damage than waste of talent and time. You prevent your great, self-reliant employees from flourishing. By constantly interrupting, asking, nudging, controlling and supervising you undermine their sense of control over what they do. By showing the lack of trust you take away their satisfaction and sense of ownership of The Work. By doing so you also move them away from taking real responsibility and enjoying the successes.
This. Doesn't. Scale. Especially now, when world's changing so fast. Yesterday's information is obsolete; ideas invalidated. Today you (and your team) need to start from scratch. Can you really handle all of it by yourself?
Lay It On The Line
So what to do when you've found your awesome talent? It's simple, yet scary. You need to follow through and let them act. Provide them the tools, the environment so they can do the best work they can. This includes:
- Information - Goals, what we're aiming at. Key measures along which the work will be judged.
- Tools - Let them choose. They're the pros after all, aren't they?
- Co-workers - the team, the allies, the colleagues and friends.
- Freedom - with the above prerequisites, you can give them a lot of freedom. And frankly, you don't have much choice!
- Responsibility - some say Accountability. Since they get the freedom and the information, they need to be responsible for the outcome.
- Credit - since they've got all of the above, they deserve all the credit, not you!
And you, the so-called manager? You get the satisfaction of watching the Great Work from the sidelines. Having done the invisible work of laying the ground, removing obstacles, assembling the big picture, you need to give all the credit away and derive your satisfaction from the work work done by your rising employees.
Since you've given the employee the information, the scope and the tools, don't expect to have a full control ever what's being delivered. In fact, being surprised is what you'll often get. The employee on the front-line, acting independently has the best information about the Work that needs to be done. Yes, they may lack the big picture. They may lack the experience. But it only means you need to provide them better information and let them learn.
Of course there's much more things you need to do. And plenty of things you can and will screw-up on the way. Deadly sins of questioning employee's good intentions or criticizing them for taking initiative. You can also omit important issues like creating room for learning, experimenting, failure, fun or free speech. Those are topics for some future posts ;) Subscribe below not to miss any of those!
(Picture Credit: Nemo)