Avoidant Strategies of Effective Managers

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in ComLead, Organizational Leadership

Yes everyone loves praise and to have their boss right on hand when they need them, but there is actually a lot of evidence that suggests that the best managers are the ones who are less responsive.

This of course does not mean that all managers should outright ignore their workers and leave them to their own devices, it just means that micro-managing is never the right way to go. If you want your employees to grow and to improve as time goes on then you simply have to challenge them. And an employee is not being challenged if every time that they get stuck you are right there to show them the way.

Some people describe this style as “absent but always there” because the boss isn’t actually ignoring their workers, they are just refraining from coddling them or being their crutch. If you send your boss questions any time that you are confused and they answer immediately then all you are learning is how to ask more. But if you send them questions and it takes them a few hours to respond then you either fail and do not complete the task, or ideally you find an answer on your own.

There is a fine line that managers need to balance between being supportive and motivating your workers to grow and improve on their own but it should be done. Managers should not strive for their employees to struggle or to have a hard time, but they need to find a way to make it known that they can overcome their hardships on their own just with a little more effort than if they just asked for help.

By enforcing this more often, managers are not only encouraging their employees to be more independent, but they are also stimulating their leadership skills. If employees understand that they should attempt to find answers prior to reaching out, then that frees up more time for the manager to get their own work down. Likewise, you would have less instances where an employee might “cry wolf” and ask for help on things that they already know how to do. If there is a system where employees know when to turn to you for help then the manager would also understand that that worker has already spent a considerable amount of time attempting to find a solution and the two minds will be able to have a proper discussion on what the issue is and what they could both do to help it.

Resources: How to Turn Procrastination into a Management Technique

Devon Bradley, M.S. Communication & Leadership ’19

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