What will your employees do when you leave for a vacation?

15195967_d96d750ee9
Photo by mark(s)elliott’s

Imagine. You leave for a month of an overdue vacation. The catch is, it is on a deserted island, which has no way of communicating with the outside world. What will happen to your employees when you are gone? Will everything continue as usual? Will they be able to ask themselves, at every decision intersection they face – what does my manager would like to me to do, and answer that question? Correctly?

I believe that the most successful managers refrain from intervening in their employees’ processes, unless they are asked to by them. These great managers focus on the setting and explaining the right desired outcomes and let the people do their jobs in the best they can. But, even this outcome perspective about management does not come without limitations. The main limitation being, that people job should align with the organizational goals and strategies. So, one of the main jobs – and challenges – of great managers is to communicate these things to his/her employees.

Now, this could be done easily. You can tell your employees that every time they are in doubt or they think about a new idea, they can check with you. This is not meddling with their ideas and processes, it just a way to guide them. Right? Wrong. Even the greatest manager can’t be everywhere all the time. And as more organizations move away from simple manufacturing to jobs that require the use of judgment, specialties and  knowledge, the less a manager can be there to support his employees and answer all of these questions.

So, not only does the manager face the challenge of creating of a clear message to explain the desired outcomes, but, not less important, he needs to make sure that this message will guide the employees when he is not there.

Lao Tzu said:

The best of leaders when the job is done,
when the task is accomplished,
 the people will say we have done it ourselves.

Two thoughts:

  1. We usually don’t think about what would happen if we won’t be there. Maybe it is just too frightening. But, just think about all the time you can save if your employees will be able to make all these decisions themselves. And I am not talking about your vacation time. I am talking about everyday at the office.
  2. When we try to articulate the desired outcomes and limitation, we need to remember the curse of knowledge. Out employees don’t know what we already know. Don’t make any assumptions. Make sure they truly understand.

So, what are you doing to prepare for you next solitary vacation?

Elad

 

Advertisements

7 Responses to “What will your employees do when you leave for a vacation?”

  1. A little romance and fear in a manager’s life « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] me thinking on the importance of communication for managers and leaders. I wrote on this subject a number of times before, communicating accurately, is one of the biggest challenges of managers and leaders. Thus, every […]

  2. What are the Kanbans of your employees? « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] the past I discussed in this blog the concept of Vital signs (Also see this). A clear set of measurements that  allows you to know the state of your business. I also […]

  3. Manager’s Toxic Tandem Dilemma « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] be oblivious to your people as a manager. Your job is your people. Their feelings, their thoughts, their success, their […]

  4. Dashboards « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] each and every one of your employees is doing… that your dashboard will be able to show you the vital signs of your organization and employees. Imagine that your employees could see it as well, and get an instant validation for their […]

  5. What did you learn today? « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] to remember that the added bonus of this is that people grow up to be capable and creative. Then, the manager’s job is about communicating the right values to take into account in the decision […]

  6. Resisting the temptation to give answers « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] or  answers and move to letting people find their own ways. So they will be able to do the job when you are not there. Tell them what the desired outcome is and let them find the solution. Give them the support and […]

  7. Lessons on teamwork from “Mistborn” « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] Outcome management – this is a concept I wrote about a few times before. Good managers give a framework and desired outcomes and don’t tell their team how to do the work. The teammates usually know better. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: