In the always amazing Creating Passionate Users, theres a new post about micromanagement, and its effects on employee productivity. They start the post out with one of the most interesting (and true) remarks Ive seen lately: The most important function for a manager is X = -Y, where X is employee brain use and Y is degree of management. To use the horse whisperers advice, The more you use your reins, the less theyll use their brains.
If you recognize value, trust.
Working with the right people (remember Ive written about hiring the right people a couple of days ago) means trust, and trust is a complicated thing to go around and give everyone. However, bare with me, were talking about the right people – the genius (or geniuses) you just added to your team to bring your project to a whole new level. Those guys, you should trust.
If you expect someone to give their best, you need to let them get to their best on their own, or their vision will never be as clear as you want it to be. Remember that even though sometimes it goes against the laws of management, some people work better on the worst of schedules, with the worst types of communication, and with the worst kind of conditions. But a genius is a genius, hell get the job done.
If they know their business, trust their judgement
Again from Creating Passionate Users: Micromanagers often believe that they know more, and more importantly care more. Often theyre right. But its a downward spiral. This is one unfortunate truth. If managers knew about all crafts perfectly and could execute them perfectly, we wouldnt need creatives – in fact, we would all be training to be a manager. One of the most dificult decisions a manager can do is to get out of the way of creation, because it usually means letting the grip go for a while. It will be worth it.
Realizing your limitations is usually the first step to hiring the right talent, so keep that in mind when controlling the output of any creative.
The right idea, the right person
Give the right person the right idea and let them run with it. The right person will surprise you. You just need to apply the best characteristic in any project manager – trust. Now, if you havent clicked through to the great post on micromanagement over at Creating Passionate Users, do so now, and stop creating zombie workers.
If youre looking for solid reading about project management, Scott Berkuns book The Art of Project Management is probably the best book Ive read recently on the subject. One of the sections on the book is entirely dedicated to the subject of how management is tightly connected to trusting people and their roles. A great read.