Micro-management is somewhat open to interpretation. One person’s desire for more contact and interaction with their manager is another person’s worst nightmare. Rhonda may feel like she wants more direction and collaboration. She wants to make sure she’s in alignment with her boss’s priorities. Josephine may feel as though she is being smothered by a similar level of “supervision”. She just longs for the freedom to go about her work. Rhonda and Josephine work on the same team and report to the same manager.
Neither one is wrong. So what’s the difference? Ask.
How will you know what your team members need if you don’t ask them? How will you know how each one prefers to work, check in, or be managed if you aren’t engaged with them to find out?
Establishing and maintaining good rapport with each member of your team has never been more important than it is right now. Working remotely has eliminated the more organic ways we once checked in with each other. Even if you’re working in-person again, many places still aren’t back 100% of the people, 100% of the time. It’s way too easy for us to become disconnected from each other.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a simple example of how one of our client’s is approaching this challenge of staying engaged with her team in order to make sure she’s leading them effectively.
- Schedule 30-minute meetings with each member of your team. If you’re able to meet face-to-face comfortably, do so. If not, meet via video with your cameras on.
- Set your intention for the meeting. Declare the outcome you’re hoping to reach. “My goal is to make sure I’m supporting you how you want to be supported.” Get agreement.
- Ask questions. One at a time, with space for them to answer. If you plan your questions ahead of time, you can ensure asking open-ended ones where you’re more likely to get a meaningful dialogue going.
- Come to an agreement about how to proceed. Summarize what you heard in the form of affirming specific things you can both do to move forward in a way that feels like a win for both of you. This last step is critical. Without confirmation of the agreement you’ve reached, you risk leaving things unclarified. YOU may feel clear, but you don’t know if the other person is clear in the same way. Don’t throw the meeting out the window by skipping this step.
Go get started! Your team members just may be waiting for this kind of leadership. You won’t know until you ask.