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What if we told you that the best way to lead is to do less managing? We’ve all heard about the type of boss that micromanages and is over-attentive – we can all agree that this management style can be stifling at times.   

If you want to enable your teams to flourish, we actually recommend doing less. The idea behind this approach is that you are allowing employees to take care of themselves and their own schedules, whilst showing them that you have trust in their abilities. Not only does this method free up more of your own time to focus on other tasks, it also builds better relationships with your teams.   

Follow our top tips on how to become a better leader, by doing less and trusting more.  

1.      Work with your teams, not against them.  

Teams can spend a lot of time concentrating on how to avoid mistakes, and how to be the most productive. Why not shift your focus? Allow your staff to make mistakes freely, and instead of reviewing the whole process when things go wrong, let them learn from their mistakes and clean it up by themselves. Less pressure on staff means less mistakes happen.  

2.     Have open communication.  

An environment with open communication encourages honesty and makes you a more trustworthy leader. Openness also inspires your teams to come to you directly with any issues, worries and feedback, allowing you to understand the dynamics of a situation, so you can help them come up with a solution.  

3.     Give up authority, but not responsibility!  

Some of the best leaders out there don’t waste their time laying down the law – instead, they actively encourage their people to make their own decisions and be the best that they can be. Handing over the reigns empowers people, as they feel more in control of their workload, have higher energy and a greater commitment.  But don’t forget, it’s still important to support your teams, throughout the process.  

4.     Embrace technology!  

Modern technology means that we can share information much faster. Gone are the days when we rely on long, boring meetings to distribute the facts. Start cancelling your recurring meetings that only exist to ensure everybody is ‘on the same page’. Instead, take advantage of digital collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams. Not only does this save everybody time, but encourages your people to get involved with your online social spaces and work together better.  

5.     Use social incentives.   

Performance reviews are time-consuming and can be daunting for some, creating feelings of anxiety which can demotivate teams. Studies show that the majority of workers are more driven and influenced by how their peers view them, rather than their manager’s perspective.   

Social recognition can be a much more effective motivator than performance reviews. So start shining a spotlight on those who are working well by giving them positive recognition amongst their team. This can be done via your internal communications – whether that be Microsoft Teams, your internal newsletter or a quick email. Celebrating even the smallest of wins can encourage a positive outlook, and inspire other team members to work harder and develop their skills.   

To conclude...

Start being the leader that lifts up your teams and helps them to grow and improve, instead of the manager that uses judgement to push people back into line.  

Let your teams know that you are there to support them in their role, and make sure they are aware that they can come to you with any issues. But when it comes down to it, give them the autonomy that they need to truly flourish.  


Want to learn more about managing your team's performance?

Brush up on your leadership skills with our Leadership Essentials on 
Performance Management.

This blog has been edited from the original version by Monte Maritz that first appeared in EDGE journal.

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