It’s always exciting to get a promotion, especially when it comes with a pay raise, but if the promotion puts you in your very first management position, it can also be pretty scary. It often means that people who were recently your peers are now your subordinates. You might even have to hire new employees to work in your department, even if you’ve never had to hire anyone before. How do you know who will be a good fit? How do you command respect from people you were joking around with just last week?
Your first time working in a leadership position can be intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. Your boss put you there because she knew you could handle it and living up to her expectations might be easier than you think.
A common quote from well-known leaders in a variety of industries is that the key to being a good boss is to hire smart people and then get out of their way. How to hire the right people deserves it’s own discussion, but right now we want to focus on the second half of that equation.
Getting out of their way does not mean you never see them again. It means you don’t micromanage them. Just tell them what you need done and let them figure out the best way to do it. You can tell them how you would do it, but the best way for you might not be the best way for them. Make yourself available to answer questions if they have any, but don’t force yourself on anyone. By letting them do the work their way, you give them the chance to work in the ways in which they, personally, are most productive. They’ll probably even come up with a few tricks you never would have thought of on your own.
Another advantage to this management style is it builds trust among your team. By showing that you trust them to do the work their way, you’re showing confidence in their abilities and their work will reflect that.
You’ll also have happier employees, and that comes with all sorts of advantages, including increased productivity, fewer incidences of illness and missed work, etc. Employees with high levels of job satisfaction will work harder than employees who are unhappy with their careers, which means, at the end of the day, you’re getting more for less.
Of course, the biggest benefit to not crowding your employees is it frees up more time for you. If you’re working in a leadership position, you probably have multiple employees working underneath you and you can’t possibly micromanage all of them at once. You’ll probably have other responsibilities in addition to your management duties, so the less time you spend hovering over your subordinates, the more time you can spend on the work that requires your personal attention.
In the end, by hiring smart people and then “getting out of their way,” you’ll make everyone happy, including yourself, your employees, and your boss.