Good Leaders Minimize Their Biases and Aren't Micro-managers
Officevibe has done it again; I got another article that I loved! Here’s the first paragraph of the article: “Do you come into work early to impress your boss? Do you stay late because you see your coworkers doing it? Are you afraid of what your boss will think of you if you leave early? Is there any point in staying late if your work for the day is done?” The premise of the article is that our time biases affect how we perceive others.
Jacob goes on to talk about one of his favorite TED talks (Jason Fried, called “Why Work Doesn’t Happen At Work”), research done by Christopher Barnes of University of Washington’s Foster School of Business (he conducted research on if workers were being penalized for using flexible hours), and Jacob’s personal experience of not being a morning person.
Why did I love the article? Because I had no idea this was really a thing. And, because I am pretty sure I’ve been the person perceived unfairly.
Jacob had another article that I enjoyed; it focused on accountability without micromanaging. Here’s his first paragraph: “The best leaders hold their team accountable, but the best leaders also know that micromanaging is a terrible idea.” He goes on to say that we all know that people are demotivated by micromanagement and that it is a big time waster. But, he also says that managers can’t abdicate; there needs to be some involvement. So managers need to find balance based on trust and setting clear expectations. One additional note that is important – demotivated employees often become disengaged employees and disengaged employees cost U.S. companies anywhere between $450 billion and $550 billion according to OfficeVibe.
The article then goes on to focus on accountability, which he defines as taking responsibility for your actions. Jacob clarifies that, “Unlike micromanagement, accountability asks for an immense amount of input from the employees.” And unfortunately most managers don’t like holding people accountable. A Harvard Business Review article based on research conducted with over 5,400 upper level managers around the world found that holding people accountable is the single biggest thing that managers avoid doing.
Why did I enjoy this article? Because accountability is so needed in business.
Now let’s tie the two Officevibe articles together – Jacob refers to a study in the Journal of Experimental
Psychology that showed that people who believe they are being watched perform at a lower level. He also referred to another study from University of Pennsylvania that found highly educated employees work more when given autonomy over their schedules. When those employees were allowed to set their own schedules, they could accept it because it was their choice.
I guess in some ways I knew the time thing was a thing. I judge people, including my employees and those I work with based on the time at their desks. However, I hate being judged by that! I have learned that although I am not always comfortable holding people accountable I need to do it, whether it is one of my employees and it is related to hours worked or accomplishments of tasks, expectations, etc. or whether it is a colleague.
Jacob makes some recommendation that we should all think about: Be Aware of Your Bias (and measure people on their work, not the time spent at this desk); Set Clear Expectations; Openly Discuss Accountability; Use Data; and Work with Others to Make a Plan.