Today we explore how to obtain the best performance out of each of your musicians (employees). To no one’s surprise, micromanagement is not considered the best method to improve individual performance.
In a January 2021 article in the Harvard Business Review (Fisher, Amabile, Pillemer) How to Help (Without Micromanaging), the authors discuss the subtle line between micromanaging and helping your team members when they need it. Aside from the basic requirement of asking what needs to be done without telling how you want it done, clarifying that your role is to help, not to evaluate or plan for rewards or punishment (additional manager’s duties), is critical and is a message that requires repetition. The authors also stress the need to time your support to match when the team member has a desire to receive the help. This is most likely after they have had time to understand and deal with some of the difficulties of the project they are working on. The counter-intuitive element of this concept is nicely summed up in this quote from the article “In many cases, a well-timed cure may be better than that ounce of prevention.”
Strong leaders help team members build on their strengths through coaching and helping them to see and realize their potential. By definition this means pressing people for their best, but not expecting perfection. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder, so a leader seeking perfection would by definition, need to micromanage to obtain their view of perfection from someone else. Lend a helping hand, but if you really want to help, wait for the other person to reach for your hand.
Next week we will do a deeper dive into the psychology of culture and motivation.