5 Steps For Managing Staff as Adults, Not Children

For many managers, overseeing a staff can sometimes feel more like being a parent than an overseer and adviser of adults.

Because of this dysfunctional work relationship, many businesses are unable to realize their full potential as creativity and productivity suffer.

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Parent-type managers make too many decisions for those who work for them. In turn, employees who operate in the child position ask permission for almost any action, especially those that could be controversial or break away from the status quo.

You can break this cycle at your company by taking these steps:

1. Get real with yourself – Determine if psychologically you’re operating as a parent by asking yourself how often your employees ask you to make decisions for them, if you’re constantly trying to change your employee’s behavior or how difficult it is to get straight answers from your staff.

2. Stop calling the shots – Break the pattern of making all the decisions by instead asking your employee what he or she thinks. It will be difficult at first, but eventually staffers will become more confident and stop coming to you.

3. Ask for needs – There are always ways to increase your employee’s productivity and skills. Ask your staff what they would need in order to perform their job better.

4. Go macro – Good managers oversee projects on a macro-level, keeping an eye on the overall goals and objectives. Parents are constantly supervising individual tasks. Treat your employees like adults and let them figure out how to achieve their job goals on their own.

5. Risk Failure – If you’re a control freak when you’re managing, you’re probably acting more as a parent. Adults have to be willing to accept the possibility of failure and then be able to move on to the next project with more knowledge from the last.

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 For more information on managing employees, read the article by K. Palmer Hartl this post summarizes.