We frequently see owner-advisors employing strategies or behaviors that unintentionally reduce profits, dampen firm growth and/or diminish the quality of their client services.
While working with a new client, I was reminded that probably the most counter-productive thing that firm owners do is to micromanage their employees. It’s a surefire way to minimize all the help employees can provide in advancing firm growth.
Micromanaging comes in various forms, but in advisory firms it usually takes the form of:
- Specifying exactly how employees are to perform their jobs, down to the smallest detail;
- Frequently monitoring their progress while they are trying to get the job done;
- Offering unhelpful and all often conflicting instructions throughout the job;
- Failing to listen to employees’ questions or concerns about a task;
- Expecting employees to approach each task the way the manager would;
- Closely monitoring when employees log on and off their computers in the virtual environment we live.
What’s wrong with doing these things?
The short answer is that each of those mistakes (and many more) clearly communicates to employees that you don’t have any faith in their ability to do their jobs, and that you don’t trust them to do a good job.
What Your Peers Are Reading
This, of course, is exactly wrong message you want to send to the people you have decided to employ.
With that, here are five ways to decrease micro-management in your firm:
1. Think about how employees’ jobs fits into the future growth of your firm.
Knowing the bigger picture helps you and the employee keep your sights on the overall contribution of their skills and talents to the firm.
This may sound obvious, especially in a small firm, but I’ve known employees who worked at their jobs for years without realizing how important they are to the firm, or how all their efforts fit together for the success of the firm.
The benefits far outweigh the time and effort of explaining everyone’s role in the firm, and how each contributes to high-quality service for each client.
2. How do you define success in the role your employees play?
“Detail oriented” is the most common answer when we ask our clients. But for employees to do a great job, they have to know what a “great job” means.
Again, this isn’t something owners should leave up to employees to figure out for themselves. They aren’t mind readers.