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Sometimes You Have To Spoon Feed

Date - 30 November 2016/ Category - Be A Conductor
be a conductor

Until this point I have been pretty vocal about my belief that “management” is the wrong word to use. Leadership is more about empowering them to figure out how to solve problems themselves, through good recruitment, training and ultimately through equipping them with the right tools to do the job too. As such it’s my belief that we should rechristen “management” to “conducting” because ultimately your team are like a finely tuned orchestra and you’re the person telling them all when to come in on queue.

But there is one problem, not everyone can figure out the how. You’re going to have varying levels of problem solving abilities amongst your team and although picking people that can figure out the how is a must for when you’re picking the people who will run your business, some jobs just don’t require a how to type of person.

In instances like this then, when roles become monotonous and hard grind ensues, man management can often come into the fore.

You see ensuring that people are doing the job you need them to do, for example moving widget A to hole A, is often an overlooked skill.

Far too many managers are employed to sit over the process of moving a to a, when in fact it’s not necessary and their role is one of the “reassurance” of management rather than their existence having any great effect on productivity or output.

In this world then, your “how to” person is often the manager, with minions below them doing the daily tasks that make businesses tick like admin or calling. The problem is, when you get down to basic tasks that don’t require intense thought or problem solving I tend to find that management becomes harder because you tend to lose the things we take for granted when we work with “how to” people.

How to people tend to need to be shown the end point and they can figure out how to get there. Along the journey they pick up skills that mean the next time they are asked to go in a certain direction they do it faster and often with less mistakes, it’s the whole wisdom of experience benefit kicking in.

Yet people that don’t like to do the how to work very differently and you’ll be amazed just how frustrating that can be. You see non how to people can walk the same road multiple times and yet never learn what objects or barriers they will face. This means that at every problem you will need to spoon feed them the answer like it was the first time.

Of course non how to people that need spoon feeding exist at any level, and increasingly they become annoying as you move up the ladder. I think this lack of ability to adapt and overcome is one of the main reasons people get frustrated with their line managers, because they can see how little real contribution they make to a business.

When you’re starting out you’re going to have to accept that you won’t be able to get lots of how to people because they tend to be expensive. Instead you have to start to break down the parts of your business that need how to people and the other bits that don’t.

If you have a relatively straight forward department like boxing for example, then you can break down the tasks and let then crack on, but if you’re in sales, an environment when things can change every minute then recruiting how to people is much more important.

The key then is to understand when you can spoon feed (and when it’s financially in your interests to do so) and when you can’t.

Chapter Summary:

• You can’t always be a conductor, sometimes the roles you recruit for don’t need to define the how
• Break down the parts of your business into those that need to figure out the how and those that don’t
• Having people that liberate the how is expensive if you get it wrong

Read our next blog post “The End”.

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