Due to the lessons of home working in the past 6 months, we are seeing an unmistakable and enduring shift in culture from presenteeism and micromanagement to management built on trust. Management built on trust is something working parents welcome because of the flexibility it offers and because of the opportunity to be measured on metrics they are not disadvantaged by. Is the work being done within schedule, is it of high quality and is the team working well together are more effective measures of accomplishment than whether someone clocks into work at a specific time and rarely clocks out.
Whilst the desire is there, few managers have the experience to make the most of the possibilities this presents. In a recent Harvard Business Review article on ‘Managers’ Self-Confidence, Beliefs, and Trust in Remote Workers’ almost 40% of the 215 supervisors and managers expressed low self-confidence in their ability to manage workers remotely. This seemed to then spill over into how they perceived their employees as well with 29% questioning whether their employees had the required knowledge do to their work and reporting a lack of trust in their competence. In the same study HBR concluded that Micromanagement is not an effective way to get the best out of people. The more a worker feels mistrusted, the lower their perception that they are performing their core tasks well.
Managers need education and inspiration to develop the skills to manage with trust. They need leaders as role models who themselves manage by affording greater autonomy. They need access to the research proving the benefits of remote working for the organisation and the individual and the conditions under which these can flourish. They need support from the organisation to help their staff work flexibly such as access to technology and employment policies. They need training in the skills of delegation and communication and how to check in rather than monitor. They need professional development to expand their competencies in managing through results.
Now is the time to invest in manager training. What are you doing to equip managers to manage with trust?