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How to Have Productive Employees Without Micromanaging

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About This Episode

With more and more companies permanently or temporarily going remote, leaders are having to find new ways to adjust to being involved and productive with their teams. 

 

So, whether you’re new to this whole remote work thing or a seasoned veteran, how can you make sure your employees are productive without being all in their business? In other words, how can you be a good leader without micromanaging? Tricia and LZ will talk about this and more in this week’s episode.

1. Hire adults who know how to do their job and do it well, then trust them to do it.

Micromanaging your team makes it appear that you don’t trust them, which will eventually lead to them not trusting you. If you have a solid, healthy hiring process, trust that process to bring you the right people who will allow you to do what you do best. 

2. Revisit your delegation priorities regularly.

As a leader, what you’re responsible for today might be different than what you were responsible for 6 months ago. The more you can begin shedding tactical work for strategic work, the more you’ll be able to better lead your team and cast vision for its future.

 

3.  Sometimes just good, old-fashioned communication is all you need to be a good leader.

There’s nothing wrong with using the latest, fancy communication tools to keep you and your team informed. But, sometimes, a simple post-it note, 5 minute conversation, or quick phone call is all you need. Don’t make your team jump through a bunch of technological hoops if you can be more efficient in other ways.

 

How do you personally define productivity?
Do you have a tendency to micromanage or are you more hands off? How do you balance those tendencies to be most effective as a leader?
What are your delegation priorities currently, and in what ways could you adjust them?

How has your leadership responsibilities changed over the last year, especially considering the current remote culture trend?

More work does not equal more productivity.

Tricia Sciortino

When you have communication, real trust, and ultimately respect for one another, that's where the magic happens.

Lisa Zeeveld

Productivity is getting the high priority items done in an effective amount of time in an efficient manner.

Tricia Sciortino

Micro-managing has the unfortunate opportunity to break relational capital instead of build it.

Tricia Sciortino

Accountability breeds productivity.

Lisa Zeeveld

Tricia Sciortino on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Lisa Zeeveld on Instagram and LinkedIn

BELAY’s staffing solutions

(02:37) Hire adults who know how to do their job and do it well. Then trust them to do it. 

(04:22) Growth means the leader needs to start thinking strategically. And you can’t think strategically if you’re stuck in the weeds as a micromanager. 

(05:30) More work doesn’t equal more productivity. We want to avoid more hours and more work and, instead, get more done efficiently in the same amount of time. 

(05:50) How should a leader define productivity?

(08:08) As a leader, what you’re responsible for today might be different than what you were responsible for 6 months ago. So revisit your delegation priorities regularly. 

(10:08) How do you know what’s getting done or not getting done if you can’t see the people who work for you?

(10:42) Build in layers of leadership and accountability to allow you to trust that everyone is getting their job done. 

(13:40) Sometimes just good, old-fashioned communication is all you need to be a good leader. 

(18:22) This week’s one next step: Download our productivity e-guide, a resource that’s full of tips and tricks to help you maximize your productivity.

Tricia Sciortino:

I got a text from one of our executives today, literally saying thank you for completely trusting me and having confidence that I own this and I know what I’m doing. Right, right. And it kind of just choked me up just a little bit because I’m like that is my goal. I want my team members to feel like they are absolutely trusted. They are encouraged and empowered to own their jobs.

Speaker 3:

Welcome to One Next Step, the most practical business podcast in the world. Helping you get more done, grow your business and lead your team with competence, with tips and tools you didn’t get in business school, here are your hosts, Trisha Sciortino and Lisa Zeeveld.

Tricia Sciortino:

Welcome to the One Next Step podcast. I’m Tricia.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Hey guys, I’m Lisa also known as LZ and I am super excited about today’s topic. How about you T, you excited too?

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes! I mean we’re talking productivity, my favorite word.

Lisa Zeeveld:

I know, I know. And really the impetus for today’s topic is we’ve had a rough year. It’s kind of interesting to think that we are over a year of this whole pandemic thing and a lot of different industries had different outcomes. Unfortunately, we have industries who suffered greatly and you know, for that it’s heartbreaking. And then other industries have really seen phenomenal growth. And so the reason for the topic is those who are seeing that phenomenal growth, as leaders, how are you staying productive with so much more yet to do? And depending upon your personality style, it’s even easier to become more of a dare I say that, a micromanager, and that’s what we don’t want to do because you start to lose productivity, when you feel like you’ve got to be in all the tiny, little details over and over again. I know you felt that T, right?

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes. I mean, typical control-freak leadership tendency says when we are feeling pressure to do more, we have a tendency to kind of drag ourselves down into the weeds, we like to call them over here. So we can easily, as leaders, when there’s a lot going on inside our organization, feel pulled down into things maybe we didn’t get involved with before because we think we’re trying to help and we’re trying to serve our team, but we’re serving nobody well, because then we wind up at a place where we are micro-managing. We’re running out of hours in our day, we’re not being productive and our team doesn’t like to feel like they’re being micromanaged.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right? I mean the whole idea is that you’re going to hire adults and adults should know that they have a job to do and they should do that job very, very well. And so when we feel like we’re over-scheduled or we have too much on our plate, it really has the opposite effect on our team members because they sort of feel like they’re doing something wrong and ultimately that makes them less productive. And then they trust us less too, which doesn’t feel good.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes, yes. I mean, that’s the unfortunate part about micro-managing is that it has the opportunity, the unfortunate opportunity, to break relational capital instead of build it, or to your point lead to distrust or an employee thinking maybe they’re not doing something right or correct. And so you’re all in their biz and they’re wondering why you’re in their business so they must think I’m not doing my job. What really, we’re just kind of in this frenzy of there is so much going on, I got to get in there and help the team because there’s so much to do.

Tricia Sciortino:

But what we know to be true is that although the tendency might be to step down into the weeds and we find ourselves there often, is really being able to take the step back and go, okay, what is it that I’m here to do as the leader or executive of this team and really kind of remind yourself that you’re hurting potentially yourself and other people in the process. Yourself in that burnout, trying to take on too much and getting scattered and losing productive behavior is only going to negatively affect you as a person, let alone the people that are around you.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right. And growth means that the leader needs to start thinking strategically. And you can’t think strategically if you’re in the weeds because you’re not able to lift up your head and in a time of massive growth, you have got to start planning for the next season ahead. And you know, perhaps in your business, that’s only 12 months out, maybe it’s five years out, but you have to remember that, yes, there’s a lot going on, but it’s going to continue to be that way. And you have to set yourself up for future growth and future success so strategy is going to be more important now than ever.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yeah, exactly. And being productive, that’s going to be like the post pandemic keyword. That’s going to be the next big thing like okay, now all of these workforces are home and there’s thriving organizations and how do we do the work productively so that people are not just investing more time, energy and effort. I read an article last week, or it might’ve been two weeks ago or so, that said that there is survey data now that is saying that people that are now working from home are working more than ever before.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yes.

Tricia Sciortino:

So right, more work does not equal more productivity.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right.

Tricia Sciortino:

It just means more work and so what we want to do is avoid more hours and more work. We want to get the work done in a way that’s more productive and more efficient so you can get more done in the same amount of time.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Well, I think that’s a great lead in. So how would you suggest that a leader define productivity?

Tricia Sciortino:

So for me, it’s getting the right things done in an effective amount of time that fits into your ideal work week. So it’s like doing the high efficiency items that you need to get done, those high priority items, in the right amount of time in an efficient manner.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right.

Tricia Sciortino:

That was like a fluffy definition.

Lisa Zeeveld:

No but I think too, that part of it is knowing that sometimes that may mean that you need other team members.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So I think that’s probably for me, where I can see that some organizations are at, they have more business than they’ve ever had before, their team members are working more than they ever have before. And like you said, some industries, they were able to go at home and work in a remote office, in a home office. And so now they’re saying, I am as productive as I can be. I’ve got tools, I’ve got resources and I’m acting efficiently to get it done and I still can’t. And I would encourage leaders to have those conversations with team members if they feel that. I learned that very early off in my leadership journey is that part of my job is to make sure that I’m removing roadblocks and I’m providing resources. And so that key to productivity is also making sure you have the right bodies to get the work done.

Speaker 4:

BELAY provides staffing to help you grow your organization, whether you need a virtual assistant, bookkeeper, website specialist or a social media strategist. They have the right team member for the hours you need ready to help you excel without the added stress of having to do everything on your own. Stop juggling and start getting back to what only you can do; growing your organization. Getting started is the easiest thing you’ll do today. To find out more, just go to belaysolutions.com/get-started.

Tricia Sciortino:

One of the things that our team has been working on is revisiting on some cadence that makes sense, but revisiting kind of going through a delegation matrix. As a leader, I can speak for myself. What I’m responsible for today is different than what I was actually responsible for even six months ago.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right?

Tricia Sciortino:

We’re growing so the responsibilities are increasing and my priorities are shifting, which means I can’t do all the things I did six months ago because I have to do some new and different things, which means I have to figure out who to delegate and where to delegate some items and to whom. So I think even getting in the practice of saying, it’s been a while, I feel overwhelmed, I have new and different work, let me kind of go through this exercise of what I need to be doing and not need to be doing and who on my team can take on new responsibility and really offload things from you down into your team. Or to your point, LZ, may be recognize through that exercise that it’s actually time to bring on more manpower. You need to hire somebody to take some of that from you. If you’re growing, the workload is growing.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Absolutely. And I think that’s a lot of times where people get, especially in this remote work environment that we’re in right now, is that leaders aren’t having a good pulse. Perhaps what’s happening because they’re so used to using more of a surveillance methodology-

Tricia Sciortino:

They can see you in your cubicle typing so it meant you were doing work.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So they could go over at six o’clock, maybe if they were getting ready to leave and say, “Hey, Tricia, you’re done for the evening, right? Hey, get out of here and go home.” They know perhaps if there’s too many people working on the same project, but when everybody is working remotely, that becomes a little bit more difficult if you’re not in the habit of already doing it.

Tricia Sciortino:

Oh yeah. I mean, that’s a question I hear often from people outside of our organization is, but how do you know what’s getting done or not done because you can’t see them in the office? Like how do you know if they’re slacking or overworking, which is huge, which boils down to KPI’s and results at the end of the day. Are they completing everything they need to on time? Are they achieving the goals and KPI’s you set out for them? Then I would go with the thumbs up, yes, they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing regardless of the time.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right. And as you are creating a growing organization, it’s really adding layers in there so that you perhaps, as the business owner or if you’re an executive, that you’ve got layers down there and I know this is probably something Trisha, that would be easy for you to speak to now as our CEO, right? I mean, there’re parts of our business that you can’t possibly be micro-managing. You honestly have to trust that they are being productive, but you’ve built in layers of other leaders and built in layers of accountability, such as those KPIs and those dashboards and those metrics to make sure they’re doing it. So I’d love to hear kind of your thoughts on now in your position, sort of that level of trust and maybe some of the processes or tools you’ve put in place to help you know that your team is doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yeah I mean, first and foremost, it goes with having the right people that you actually do trust and are experts at what they’re doing. Like for example, you. I don’t have to worry about our finances and our budgets and our cashflow and our income statements for BELAY. I don’t feel the need or desire to have to comb them or review them because you are doing that. You are a specialist in that area, you know more than I do and I 100% trust you. And then you’re just feeding the net of that up to me.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right.

Tricia Sciortino:

So you’re just saying, “Hey, I’ve looked at everything XYZ. Here’s what you need to know. Here’s what we should talk about.” And we move on. So I’m so out of the weeds with it, because I have absolute faith in the people that are around me and what they own.

Tricia Sciortino:

So I don’t feel the need to micromanage because there’s a peace of mind to knowing they’ve got it covered. Truly, they’ve got it covered. So I think it starts with having the right people who are experts in what they’re doing and developing kind of what is that communication strategy up to you as a leader?

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yes, totally.

Tricia Sciortino:

So similar but different, our marketing, our director of marketing, marketing doesn’t have like a monthly review or reporting that they do necessarily like you would in finance. But so I’m able to just get a weekly update up to me from her kind of all the things happening in marketing, lead tracking. And I have visibility into some of the reports that I need but I don’t feel the need to go down into anything or micromanage or get involved with the weeds because I’m being fed the information up at a certain cadence that’s predictable to me. I know every Friday I’m going to get the update from marketing so I just don’t have to think about it until like I see the update on Friday.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right, right. Well, I think that’s the key too that you’re talking about very, also affordable ways to have accountability that also breeds productivity because sometimes I think as leaders, we can be wowed by the newest technology out there and all of these fancy tools and those are super, super helpful and they might work for a particular organization, but you’re basically saying just good old fashioned communication, like write a note.

Tricia Sciortino:

Truly because I can see how many leads we have for the month from the marketing [crosstalk 00:14:08] technology, because we have awesome tools that I can go see how many there are and what they are but the commentary that comes with it from the marketing director is what, here’s what it is and end … Right? So like same thing for you finance, you can be like up all the numbers match and we’re exceeding this, or we’re falling short on here.

Tricia Sciortino:

It’s the commentary that really gives me peace of mind. And then it allows everybody, allows all leaders on our team to feel like they’re empowered, they completely own their area, they’re trusted to own the area. I got a text from one of our executives today, literally saying, thank you for completely trusting me and having confidence that I own this and I know what I’m doing.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right.

Tricia Sciortino:

Right. And it kind of just choked me up just a little bit, because that is my goal. I want my team members to feel like they are absolutely trusted and have confidence. They’re not micromanaged, they are encouraged and empowered to own their jobs. And to me that was like all right.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Well, and I think as, as the leader, you setting the stage too, because I’m thinking we got some listeners out here who say, okay, I might have that team member who I say, “Hey, do you mind just giving me a weekly update?” That will go “why do you need a weekly update? Do you not think I’m doing my job and all those things.” But I think it’s because you have set it up so well to set the stage, to say this isn’t because I don’t trust you. It’s just because I’m leading this organization and I want to make sure that I’m speaking about it in the way that’s correct. I want to make sure that I’m able to cast a vision and create strategy, because I know enough of the details to be a little bit dangerous, right?

Lisa Zeeveld:

Like you just need just enough, but when you put in those words, in that context, it really starts to empower the team members that they’re almost like giving you a gift. Like I’m giving you a gift, I’m giving my leader a gift because I’m keeping them updated. I’m not giving them this because they don’t think I’m doing my job. And when you have that type of communication and that real trust and ultimately respect for one another, then that’s where the magic happens. And I know that we say that all the time here at BELAY, another one of our leaders who’s actually been on the podcast before, Krisha, and I were talking about that yesterday that we are so cohesive and we all trust each other so when we’re asking for things from our team members, it’s coming from a really good place.

Tricia Sciortino:

I could not agree more. It’s coming from a place of knowledge. Knowledge is power. It’s a silly phrase, but its absolute truth and I feel that way as the leader is that I want to be informed. Not that I need to be part of a decision or a process or a problem solving episode. I love all those things, however, but I’m mostly just want to be informed so that I’m aware and I’ve said I want to understand the plight of the team, where are the struggles and the problems? I don’t want to be up in a corner remote office, I don’t mean an executive in a corner office that is clueless to what is happening in our organization. So it’s important for me to feel like I have a good understanding of where we’re at, honestly. In a way to your point, again, going back to, in a way that allows me to lead with peace and not be micromanaging.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yeah, exactly. And again, now more than ever as teams are starting to work remotely, this is super important. We want to grow big businesses. We want to have respected team members. We want to have trust and all of this is possible when you are no longer feeling like you have to micromanage. So gosh, T this has been a super fun conversation.

Tricia Sciortino:

Hasn’t it? It’s good!

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes, I would say to all of you, get out of your weeds everyone if you’re listening. If you’re overwhelmed, delegate some stuff and pay attention to where you’re spending your time, energy, and effort so you can be the most productive version of you.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Totally. I love how you wrap that up. Well, listeners, you know we always have a one next step for you. And this week we have a download. So please head on over and grab the productivity E guide. It is packed full of tips and tricks that will help you maximize your productivity.

Tricia Sciortino:

So you’ll just need to text the phrase one next step to 31996 or visit onenextsteppodcast.com and you’ll get access to today’s resource to help you keep moving forward. Thank you guys for joining us. We will see you next week for another great episode of the One Next Step.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Start by making today count you guys.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Check out next week’s episode when we’ll have Bob Rodgers, the president and CEO of Street Grace.

Tricia Sciortino:

He’ll share how his organization is eradicating sex trafficking and shed light on the future of non-profit work. Here’s a sneak peak into our conversation wit Bob.

Bob Rodgers:

I think the first thing anybody can do is just ask themselves what resonates with me. It may be food insecurity. It may be homelessness. It may be education, health care. It could be sex trafficking. But what makes you sit up a little bit straighter and lean in a little bit more? Wherever you are, there’s somebody or somebodies in your community that’s doing that.

Speaker 3:

Thanks for listening to One Next Step. Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcasts or follow us on Spotify. Then join us next time for more practical business tips and tools to help you get more done, grow your business and lead your team with confidence. For more episodes, show notes and helpful resources, visit onenextsteppodcast.com.

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