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Micro-Management vs Employee Autonomy (a double edged sword)

The first reaction to being tasked with the responsibility of managing a remote team is often one of two scenarios: complete micro-management or total laissez-faire.

In our #newworldofwork establishing the correct balance between managerial direction and employee autonomy is paramount. This delicate balance can be easily disrupted if the focus remains solely on employee input for example hours worked, breaks taken, having to report for every action taken that is work related and non-work related.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are not running an elementary school, and that our staff members are all grown-up. On the other hand gravitating to a excessively flexible managerial structure is also not ideal, because it is our job to provide boundaries, guidelines and frameworks. Also to receive feedback on progress and outcomes.

Consider freedom within frameworks as a managerial strategy for remote workers.

Output-based KPIs as opposed to micro managing input based KPIs means leading teams on a basis of respect and mutual trust instead of being the annoying auditor of hours worked, reports filled out and excuses logged for unexpected events.

Switching the trajectory to output, results in less tedious managerial tasks to stay abreast of daily operational activities while at the same time providing ample room for higher performing teams, with less hierarchy and more independence offered.

In theory, this freedom and flexibility should render positive gains all around. However as discussed in our previous blog, challenges of un-engagement, distractions, lack of performance and burnout still remain. The trick to even out the remote management equation is accountability. Without an appropriate accountability framework, flexibility will not be a catalyst for increased performance and happier staff.

How to get it right in two steps 1. Track output metrics with cloud based reporting platforms 2. Manage to-do lists, action items and projects with online project management software

What you are aiming for, is providing employees with the freedom to deal with "terriers, toddlers and chores" when they need to without feeling guilty or anxious about what ''my boss is going to think", coupled with clear boundaries of accountability regarding meeting expectations regarding targets and projects.

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