Managing Employee Tasks

Have you ever witnessed an assigned task fall short because:

  • The employee was unwilling or unable to perform the task?
  • The task a fully capable employee was performing was micro-managed by the manager?

As managers, we all too often have used a wrong management style with an employee without realizing it. If I haven’t said it previously, the same leadership or management style to does not apply to all situations and especially not all employees.

We get this wrong when we micro-manage an employee by directing their every move when completing a task when they fully capable on their own. Or, we get this wrong when we fully delegate a task to an employee who is either reluctant or incapable to perform the task.

Especially for an employee who has never or rarely succeeded at a task, it erodes confidence in the employee’s skills and experience. Micro-managing a capable employee is insulting to their motivation and capabilities and in time can cause resentment toward the manager.

Adjusting a Manager’s Approach

Managers need to appropriately motivate their employees by adjusting their approach. A manager’s approach needs to be based on a combination of the employee’s unique skill level and personal motivation for the work they are responsible for completing.

A manager’s approach must be appropriate for each situation, employee, and task. As the employee acquires skills, experience, motivation, and desire to complete tasks, a manager must also continue to adjust their style when managing them. It’s not a single approach and now you are done.

Yes, managing people is work and is ever changing.

Skill / Will Matrix

An assessment of an employee’s skill and will to perform a task was introduced in the book “The Tao of Coaching” by Max Landsberg. The book suggests a matrix to help managers plot an employee’s skill and will to perform a task.

The plot location on the matrix can help a manager with their distinction between supporting and supervising their employees. It can be a tool for managers to adapt their management style to the skill and will of their employee while also keeping sight on the task the employee needs to accomplish.

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