One of the key aspects of successful management is knowing when to get involved in the process. Jump in too early and your team will lose its ability to make decisions on their own. Jump in too late and they will have some ideas too far along in the process to make the best changes.
This principle applies to all sorts of decisions you will make as a manager, from moving projects along to employee retention.
Let’s look at the latter one first. Remember the first time you had to fire someone you hired, or someone you genuinely liked. Tough duty right? Did you take too long to come to what turned out to be the right decision? What did you learn from that process?
Many times leaders realize after the fact that letting go of an employee who needs to be let go is better for all involved. Not only are you free to find a better fit for that position but they are free to find a better position for which they are a fit. It’s tough at the time, and it’s an emotional trial, especially if you truly care for the person, but it almost always ends up better for everyone.
Got it ? Good. Moving on …
Let’s look at what can happen when a leader isn’t approachable when he or she gives team members the idea thing have to be “ready” before they share them.
Project process is vital to your team’s success. There will always be a point in the process where your team can benefit from your perspective, and it will almost always be earlier than they are ready to show you their progress. Here’s the thing, both of you contribute to that misconception.
From their perspective, they want to show you They Got This, that they can handle their job, and they are valuable to the company. You want to encourage this behavior and this mindset. You want them to take ownership – to truly care – about their job.
Here’s the paradox. You also don’t want them to think everything has to be perfect before you see it. Here I like to use the NASA analogy. These people put a man on the moon with 1960s technology. Think about that accomplishment. Now, here’s the kicker, if their teams had waited to share ideas until they were “finished” with them, nothing would have been done. That effort succeeded because it was a cauldron of shared effort and brainpower. Your team environment can be as well.
The demarcation point will be different for just about every office, but it’s important that you establish your tipping point between when you should be involved and when it’s too soon. This might take some time to hash out, but it’s well worth the effort.
“David Firester is the CEO of TRAC Intelligence.”