control

I have been thinking about the level of control one should have on team and project without being a control freak. It is said that with a good manager, people will not feel like they are being managed. One idea that stuck to me from the book Peopleware is, you put a person on a job and if you trust him with it, don’t try to second guess and rob him of the chances to make decisions.

There are couple of types of managers – those who came up the ranks and know how to do the job and those who don’t know the nitty-gritty of their team’s day to day job. If you think you know more about how to do something than your team member, how do you control the urge of doing the job yourself instead of teaching them how to do it without actually doing it? If someone else is taking 10 days to do something that would take 1 day for you, can you grit your teeth and let him or her go through with it and learn?

On the other hand, one downside of having a manager who don’t know or don’t have capability to comprehend the details of job is explaining things to him in layman’s terms all the time and answering umpteen questions on progress and status and such.

It is a balancing act to reduce dependency, delegate authority and at the same time make sure the task is delivered.

Following are some things I would like to practice:-
1. Transfer knowledge upfront as much as possible for people to be able to do the job. Equip people with what they need or rather make sure that they are setup for succeeding.
2. Let them take decisions, you may hint or suggest course of action, but avoid making decisions for them.
3. Check progress, but not every hour of the day. Give meaningful feedback, not once in 6 months.

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