How to Be a More Hands-On Manager


Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Management pros

Thursday, July 20, 2017

One of the best skills managers can learn is how to be hands-on without micromanaging. Here is a guide to mastering this aspect of the job.

Article 3 Minutes
How to Be a More Hands-On Manager

Most employees will probably agree that having a hands-on manager is a good thing. Working in this way can improve productivity, morale and job satisfaction. However, being too involved can lead to you being seen as interfering or micromanaging, which can have the opposite of the desired effects.

Mastering this skill is akin to tightrope walking, but it can be done. Here are the best ways to become a hands-on manager without being seen as a busybody.

There's no need to intervene when things are going well

Andrew McGill Fenderbosch - CEO of Monster Vacations Group - said in an interview with GrowMap that managing a team is a lot like managing an athlete. You need to keep them in "a perpetual state of peak performance". This means looking out for slumps and taking action to rectify them.

There is no point trying to change anything if it is all going well. Doing so will just be seen as micromanagement, and could lead to a decline in performance as employees get tired of being told what to do.

Motivate your staff

When things are going well, you should make people feel positive about it rather than interfering. This will make people feel rewarded and encourage them to keep things at this level. This motivation is crucial to being a hands-on manager.

Recruitment firm Michael Page says that the best example of a hands-on manager is a proactive, positive presence that encourages and motivates in order to keep things running smoothly. This is what you should aim for.

Support development

Employee development is one area you should play an active role in. Zenger/Folkman, a strengths-based leadership development firm, collected data on this topic and found that over the space of a year, only a third of workers felt they had developed when they had an unsupportive manager.

In companies where the managers got involved in staff development, this figure jumped up to 74 per cent. It is clear that being personally involved in this area can have major positive effects on your workforce.

Don't be afraid to be the boss

While being positive and motivating employees is important, it is also vital that you are a strong figure who remains in charge. Writing for the Huffington Post, founder and Chairman, of Bruce Tulgan compares management to schoolteachers.

He says the best teachers were "very demanding, strict but fair, and always got the very best out of students", as well as being engaged with the subject they were teaching. This is a good set of traits to aim for as a manager.

Make sure you're solving problems

Ultimately, this is what being a hands-on manager is all about. Steven Starker, cofounder of financial services firm BTIG, said in an interview with Forbes that he always tries to lead by example and find solutions to client problems throughout the day.

You should see 'problem solver' as one of your main roles. No matter how major or minor, you should always try to guide your employees towards a solution to any issue they might come across throughout the workday.

Insights for Professionals

Insights for Professionals provide free access to the latest thought leadership from global brands. We deliver subscriber value by creating and gathering specialist content for senior professionals.


Join the conversation...