A seminar participant was lamenting that she has to watch her employees like a hawk.  She said that if she didn’t watch them all day long and tell them what to do at each step of the way, they wouldn’t get anything done.  Can you see the problem with this situation?

What are these employees even buying her?  She clearly gets little done except for managing them.  Unless her entire job description is about managing these people, she may be letting some important things slip through the cracks.

From the employee’s perspective, how would you like to be watched all the time and told what to do all day long?  I’m guessing you wouldn’t find it to be a very stimulating environment.

My advice to her was simple, train these people to do their jobs.  If they are untrainable, find people who can do the job effectively.

When someone takes a new position.  There’s a lot to learn.  It is a bit like learning how to ride a bike.  Remember, when you first learned to ride a bike, you probably needed a parent’s help or perhaps you used training wheels.  Remember those days?  They helped you stay on track while you got the hang of things.  At some point, you develop the skills necessary to ride the bike on your own without assistance.

Imagine for a moment that you kept the training wheels on or if your parent had to help you every time you wanted to ride your bike.  Probably not the ideal situation for either party.  The same holds true for a manager/employee relationship.  Training wheels until they develop the ability to do it on their own.  Anything more than that borders on being a “helicopter” manager.  Does that mean you give free reign and don’t check in?  Of course not.  Help them develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful, monitor and guide them, and then get out of their way.

John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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