Dear Alison…

As leadership experts, we get asked an array of questions to help managers get the best out of their teams.  To protect anonymity, this Agony Aunt style article shares useful insights into common challenges and potential solutions.

Dear Alison and team

I have a team of 5 people and find myself having to micromanage them.  I really don’t have the time for this, and they don’t seem to like it much either!  How can I get them to do the work without me having to breathe down their necks?

Yours sincerely 
Frustrated of Southampton

Dear Frustrated of Southampton

We’re sorry to hear that your valuable time is being spent in this way.  No doubt there are other matters that you want to focus your attention on, to help drive your business forward.

To improve this situation, consider the following and take action as needed:

– Do some team members need micromanaging more than others? If yes, why is that (Skill/ Will)?

– How clear is each team mate on the following:

  • a) What you are trying to achieve by when in your business/ department?
  • b) Exactly what they are required to deliver, i.e., KPIs as well as behaviour that is okay/ not okay?
  • c) How well they are measuring up in helping with a) and delivering on b)?

– When you delegate tasks or projects:

  • a) How well are you describing the end picture of success and checking their understanding of that? (Nb. “Does that all make sense?” won’t be a foolproof way to check)
  • b) Do you make it clear what level of communication you want throughout?
  • c) Do you explain that you are expecting them to own that task?

Remember clarity and honesty are the best policy, so make sure that you are playing your part in laying the right foundations for success and find a way to give feedback without demotivating them. 

Best of luck
Alison & Team 

Dear Alison and team

My team are generally pretty good but there is one person whose performance is inconsistent.  One day they can be brilliant and on another pretty lacklustre!  How can I get them to do more of the good stuff?!

Yours sincerely
Curious of Segensworth

Dear Curious of Segensworth

How great to hear that you have a pretty good team, and that this person also has the capability to deliver well. 

To encourage more of the good stuff, you will need to give feedback and we recommend taking a strengths-based approach for this.  

For example, “Yesterday you were brilliant, I particularly liked the way you did X, Y and Z”.  Nb. Be sure to describe the exact behaviour you saw that was great and the positive impact of that behaviour.  Then add “We’d love to see that every day, how could you achieve that?”  This should open up a really good two-way conversation.

Remember Tim Gallwey’s quote “Potential – Interference = Performance”.  Be ready to listen to the obstacles getting in this person’s way, there may be things that you/ colleagues or the business could do to help them consistently perform at their best.  Equally, by asking a series of open questions, you can help them recognise what they personally can do differently to achieve greater success.   

Happy coaching
Alison & Team