Every small business leader faces the challenge of building and managing a team. Finding the right folks is half the battle. After you find them, it is your responsibility to manage the team. Great management happens on both a "micro" level and a "macro" level.
Micro-management – not the notoriously negative "micromanagement," but rather what I call the MICRO aspect of management – is all about the day-to-day management that keeps the team on track.
A great MICRO manager asks questions like:
- What are the deadlines for a particular project?
- How do we measure progress (and are we making progress)?
- Is there sufficient feedback exchange?
- How do we promote more accountability within the team?
But how about the MACRO part of management? Beyond your day-to-day role as a manager, you must also consider each person's career trajectory.
A great MACRO manager asks questions like:
- What skills does each employee want/need to develop?
- What are each person’s career aspirations?
- How will each person’s role develop over the coming years?
- Does each member of the team feel happy and fully utilized?
As you can see, the MICRO and MACRO perspectives of management are quite different. But they are equally important.
Our challenge as managers is that we have an inherent bias for the MICRO side. Our obsession with near-term progress and great performance at any given moment often inhibits our MACRO perspective. As a result, we may lose people or fail to push our colleagues to their greatest potential.
It is easy to recognize the importance of the MACRO perspective. We all have aspirations and a desire to develop our capacity. However, amidst day-to-day operations, it is very difficult to MACRO-manage. We usually don't even realize it until its too late...
So what's the secret to great MACRO management? Defining and then reinforcing “success factors.”
"Success factors" are the specific attributes for each person to be successful in his/her job. For example, a great "Office Manager" is (1) extremely organized, (2) has a great attention to detail, (3) understands the operations of the business, and (4) is comfortable working with different personalities. These four attributes are success factors.
A great MACRO manager states these success factors up front to someone hired for such a job. And then, over time, would consistently reinforce them – and support their development – going forward.
Everyone on your team should know (and agree) on the “success factors” for their role. When you check in periodically with folks on your team, you should restate the success factors and discuss what each person is doing to develop them over time. Industry conferences, workshops, and continuing education all lend themselves to addressing one's success factors.
Rather than obsess over day-to-day performance, consider your team's success factors on a consistent basis. By doing so, you will develop one of your own success factors - your capacity to MACRO manage!