When is the best time to jump in as a manager? If there was an easy answer, we’d be able to magically apply a formula that would predict the perfect moment. Nice idea, isn’t it?
Managers often struggle with this timing. If they enter too soon, they become micromanagers. If they wait too long, they may be too late and the employee may have made a big mistake. Each situation is different, which complicates this question.
The best way to hone this skill is to use 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.
Instinct. When you get “that 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. Remember the expression “trust your gut”?
Experience. Think about what you’ve done in previous scenarios. 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 log of how you responded to certain situations so that you can look for patterns of what works best.
Employees. Each employee is different, and how you manage them will be different. Your timing with a decisive, “know it all” employee will not be the same as a more methodical, less confident employee. Consider this factor as you decide when to jump in.
The combination of these elements will help you determine the best timing of when 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.
Have a great day!