Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one managerial style that you can use for your staff as well as your supervisor? Well, there is; it is called flexibility or adapting to the particular person for a particular assignment.
There is a widely accepted theory based on a learning process model that has four stages (along with my very simplistic definition for each stage) that is listed below:
- Unconsciously Incompetent (Stage 1): Do not know what you do not know
- Consciously Incompetent (Stage 2): Know what you don’t know
- Consciously Competent (Stage 3): Know how do it, but you have to think about it
- Unconsciously Competent (Stage 4): Know how to do it without thinking about it and can see a few steps ahead
While these stages are very interesting, the real value is around using these stages to adjust one’s managerial style for each individual on your staff and which Stage they are in while working on their current assignment(s). For instance, if you had a newly hired employee that had minimal or no relevant experience in the area required for their current tasks (Stage 1 of the learning cycle), the best managerial approach would always be directive with minimal coaching. In essence, since the employee does not know what they don’t know regarding the assignment or with the company’s appropriate policies and procedures, it will be necessary to tell the employee what to do, how to do it, why they are doing it, and why they are doing it this particular way. This approach will facilitate the job to be completed correctly, on time, and teach the employee to enable their progression to Stage 2 for this task.
On the other side of the spectrum, let’s assume the employee assigned to the task has been with the company for a long period of time as well as having previously completed the same assignment numerous times; i.e. in Stage 4 of the learning cycle. In this instance, the managerial approach applied has to be completely different if you want to avoid undesirable outcomes least of which are being labeled a micro-manager and running the risk of completely demoralizing the employee as they easily can reach a conclusion that you don’t trust them to do the job by themselves.
Given the two extreme examples above, always consider the particular situation before deciding which managerial approach to use whether it is Directive (Stage 1), Coaching (Stage 2), Supporting (Stage 3) or Delegation (Stage 4). This thought process should be used for each assignment, because an employee might be in Stage 4 for one assignment, but in Stage 2 for a different assignment. The ability to be flexible and adjust your managerial style for each specific situation will make you a more effective manager and your staff’s productivity and morale will be the beneficiary.
On another level, you should use the same approach to manage your supervisor, if you feel they are “playing in your sandbox” too often. If you had a discussion with your manager on this subject, they might be willing to take a step back and change their approach. If however, they continue to micro-manage you, I suggest asking your manager why they don’t trust you to do the job as you believe that you are in Stage 3 or 4 of the learning cycle. If the answer is not satisfactory, then you most likely have a manager who only has a single managerial approach called micro-managing. In this instance you have to decide whether to “tough it out” until you change managers, try to find another position in the company or at a different company.
These two examples serve to highlight the power and the importance of solid integrations between applications where the information in one of the applications is important to users of another application.