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Ron Ashkenas writes in HBR.org about the way trivial decisions impact people’s happiness:
… most of us don’t consider in advance how much effort, energy, and time we are willing to invest in a particular position — and what balance we want to achieve between professional and personal success. As a result … we make dozens of small, subtle and almost invisible choices about how to spend our time… if the majority of these decisions over time go one way or the other, they may create a pattern that was not consciously chosen — but just “sort of happened.”
My question to you is – does your management style just sort of happens? Are you aware of the huge number of small decisions you make every day and how they affect the way your employees or peers perceive you? Or the type of work environment you create? Every decision by itself seems trivial, but they add up.
Take the idea of psychological safety. If you want your team to engage in learning and creativity, than creative an atmosphere where people feel safe to raise ideas and cast doubt is super important. This factor however is created through numerous small decisions you make when you engage your team every day. How do you react to when people offer ideas? How do you react to other people’s reaction to these ideas? How much time you give a person to talk about his idea. And I can go on and on.
Financial plans are detailed to the last cell in the excel file. I saw some marketing plans that discuss the way the brand name should be used in every possible color and page type. Many times, in the business world we respect the power of small decisions. But when it comes to management and human relationships (and, as Ashkenas claims, our own happiness) we just let things happen.
Isn’t it time you stopped letting the relationships in your team just happen and start to seriously consider them? Isn’t it time you started making an effort in order to make sure all your small decisions are in line with what you want to achieve as a manager of people?
I think it is. Don’t you?