3 Strategies to Uproot Undermanagement in Your Business

How to Be a Great Boss

In a recent episode of the Growing Leaders, Growing Companies podcast, we discussed one trend we’re seeing that can send your star players running and leave you with a less-than-stellar team.

And given how competitive today’s job market can be, this can cost your company considerably.

I’m talking about undermanagement—the exact opposite of micromanagement. In this type of management style, there’s just simply not enough management going on. You might see this manifest in your team (or perhaps even in yourself!) as:

  • Weak performance management
  • Conflict avoidance
  • Generally lackluster accountability

The bottom line is this: When your leadership team is undermanaging, they’re simply not going to empower or equip your employees to perform at their best. Your team is going to stagnate and results at your company are going to suffer overall.

If you think undermanagement might be a problem at your organization, use these three simple strategies to uproot this issue and help get your team back on track for high performance.

Strategy #1:  View Goal Setting as Mission Critical

This might seem straightforward and obvious. However, many times, strategies that are obvious or straightforward aren’t often put into practice. 

So if your organization isn’t delivering the results that you need to, first make sure your goals are clear. The truth is, most managers don’t spend nearly enough time on goal-setting. Although we set goals quarterly with our own clients, I’ve encountered a number of organizations that don’t follow this practice. Others don’t even review goals on an annual basis.

However, thoughtful and clear goals that are agreed on by you and your employees are golden—because they can be managed, monitored and tracked. Additionally, they become a road map to guide your team all year long.

Strategy #2:  Face Conflict Head-On

In the Entrepreneurial Operating System, we call this entering the danger. We encourage managers to run toward the conflict, rather than hiding from it.

If you have a tendency to avoid conflict, the first major step is to become aware of this habit.Sometimes it’s entirely unconscious. 

Then, once you notice exactly when you’re doing it, you’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. After all, no one really likes dealing with conflict. However, we have to decide that our desire to be a good manager and a leader is more important than our discomfort.

If you find yourself in this position, you might find the resources in this book valuable: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High.

Because, at the end of the day, ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away. It only makes them worse. So the sooner they get addressed, the better.

Strategy #3: Ask the Question: "Is This Work the Absolute Best That You Can Do?

It’s a simple question, but a powerful one.

Ask this question of yourself as a leader and a manager. Look in the mirror and ask,
“Is this work the absolute best that I can do?” It’s a great question, especially if you suspect yourself of undermanagement.

When a struggling team member hands in an assignment, ask them the same question: "Is this work the absolute best you can do?" It will make them aware that you’re going to be holding them accountable, setting yourself and your team up to deliver the results you’re capable of.

Ultimately, rising above undermanagement is the proverbial win-win situation for everybody. It’s better for your organization. It’s better for your team members. It’s also better for you as a leader.

It can also address one of the persistent people problems we see today: holding on to key staff members who help you break through the ceiling and keep your company thriving and growing in any time. 

If you’d like to discover more about this topic and how you can combat it within your organization, check out Episode #10 of the Growing Leaders, Growing Companies podcast, "Uproot Undermanagement, the Source of Your People Problems."

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