I’m regularly talk about clearing the path and getting out of your employees way to better manage them, but it can have some downsides that need to be addressed. Getting out of their way should always be viewed as an empowering action and never as an autopilot replacement for management.
Here are a couple of the pitfalls that can happen to a new manager after they empower their people.
Forget the metrics, their great people:
It does not matter how good the people are or how underwhelmed your employees are during down time, if your not keeping up with verifying their work with metrics your failing both yourself and them. Design your metrics correctly and they will show you where you can improve with them, and they can improve what they provide.
Losing touch with employees:
Autopilot syndrome eventually cripples your relationship with your employees. Avoid this by being present, stopping in, meeting when necessary and engaging them at every level possible. We are all busy, but if you fully embrace this step your employees will be there for you when times are really tough.
Not touching in with remote people:
Forgetting to engage the people outside of your door is bad enough, easier to forget and more disastrous is putting remote employees on cruise control. They already feel as if they are not part of the collective, and not engaging them ensures more resentment.
Maintaining innovation status quo:
When everything is working, it’s easy to keep systems the way they are and sail in easy waters. That’s fine for a break, but staying non-innovated for extended times invites mediocrity and complacency into your work force. Use the quite times to investigate with your team new directions and begin the process for trying out new things.
I have fallen into each of these traps over the years, and they all can cause problems at work. I encourage you to approach each problem early as they all are so much easier to fix if found early.