When is the best time for a manager to jump in and redirect an employee’s actions? If there was an easy answer, we’d be able to magically click an app that could predict the perfect moment. Nice idea, but not happening!
Managers often struggle with this timing. If they start too soon, they become micromanagers. If they wait too long, they may be too late, and the employee may have made a big mistake. As each situation is different, you need to decide based on the actual circumstances.
The best way to hone this skill is to gauge a combination of instinct, experience, and knowing your employees. If you start paying closer attention to these factors, it will help you refine your timing as a manager.
Instinct. When you get “the feeling” that you need to be involved, pay attention. By intuitively tuning into a situation, it gives you greater awareness that you can use to help you decide. The expression “trust your gut” is applicable in situations like this.
Experience. Think about how you’ve responded in other situations. When did you ignore something for too long? When did you overdo it and micromanage to the point of smothering your employees?
Learning from your experience is always powerful. If you want to proactively evaluate your decisions, keep a record of how you responded to certain situations so that you can look for patterns and evaluate what has worked effectively for you.
Employees. Each employee is different, and how you manage them will be different. The timing with a decisive, “know it all” employee will not be the same as with a more methodical, less confident employee. When you consider these kinds of behavioral characteristics, adapt your style to have more effective interactions.
The combination of these factors will help you determine when it’s best to jump in and when to hold back. As with any other skill that you develop, be reflective and pay attention to when you are most effective.
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