Be the Boss or Face the Consequences of Under-management


What do you get when you put together employees with diverse personalities, work backgrounds, different temperaments, habits and varying levels of “weirdness?"


But nowadays, that’s what most managers call a “team,” and the difficulty of handling such a team doesn’t stop with aforementioned differences. In fact, that’s just the start. Add a dash of disregard for authority, laziness and lack of initiative and you have yourself a “typical” team.

Of course, not all teams are like this, but we can’t ignore the fact that managing employees now is more difficult than ever. As Bruce Tulgan says in his best-selling book, It’s Okay to be the Boss, “employees are not only more likely to disagree openly and pushback, but they also won’t work hard for vague promises or long term rewards.”


It’s almost as if they’re the boss and you’re the underling
They say managing a team requires leadership, understanding and consistency, but in reality, it all boils down to your management approach.

Hands-off or Hands-on Management?
When faced with the challenge of handling a group of difficult people that can make their every waking hour miserable, most managers take the hands-off management approach. Leaders who use this approach put most of the responsibility in the hands of his subordinates. These managers leave their employees on their own after giving a “monthly quota” or project. This approach relies heavily on quantifiable goals to measure the productivity of staff.

The Problem with the Hands-off Approach
Unfortunately, this practice won’t work unless your team is composed of self-starters who are adequately trained and confident in executing their work. Even if you have a team of superstars with you, their energy won’t be enough to propel them to do their best every single day without any recognition or help. They’ll get bored and demoralized, and soon they’ll start working like drones, not minding if they’re doing the right thing or not.

In the end, this approach will just create more problems for you.


If the hands-off approach doesn’t work, what will?

A hands-on, highly-engaged management style should do the trick. Here’s what it means to be a highly-engaged manager:
•    Sets expectations with employees. Managers who use this approach don’t wait for annual reviews to set goals with their team. They don’t even wait for quarterly reviews. Likewise, you don’t need a formal review setting to discuss expectations, devise a plan and tell your staff what to do.
•    Supervises people without breathing down their necks. Obsessively watching your team, when you know well enough that they’re not a bunch of teenagers, will reduce their morale and breed a culture of dependency.
•    Measure employee performance and correct mistakes early on. So many employees hate annual performance reviews. Why? Because they don’t want to know that they failed. Employee scorecards, when explained properly can help staff understand what they’re doing right and how they can improve to get a better score. It can also highlight behaviors that need to be corrected.
•    Reward people that deserve it. If you can create incentives that reinforce the positive behavior you want, do it.

If you are interested in learning more about an intense, highly engaging 1-day workshop entitled It’s O.K. to Be The Boss, please contact me.

I look forward to seeing you in Orlando, 2014.  I will be speaking on If You Aren’t On LinkedIn, You Don’t Exist: Connecting and Networking in the 21st Century.

CMAA offers résumé writing services at

Michelle_Riklan_PicMichelle A. Riklan, ACRW, CPRW, CEIC is an internationally recognized, award winning résumé writer and a member of several prestigious career and résumé writing organizations. She is a speaker, author, corporate trainer, career coach, and employment/interview consultant.