Thriving Under Fire Blog

Are you a "Mother Hen" Manager?

Posted by John Faisandier on Nov 13, 2018 2:10:16 PM

Mother hen managers can find it difficult to trust that some people in their team can do the task well enough...439957-PEIXZD-633

 

Some managers can find it difficult to trust people in their team to do a task well enough. There is pressure to deliver outputs quickly, avoid any mistakes and sign off on key performance indicators. Having a perfectionist streak contributes to the stress.


There are managers who have been promoted because they are good at their work. They know the subject matter extremely well and can easily forget the process of learning that others need to go through. While the work has become second nature to them, new team members, on the other hand, need time to learn by doing the work.


Just as parents need to let their toddlers try things out and watch them fall on their bottoms as they try to walk, so too managers must let their team members make a few mistakes.

If the mistakes are going to be serious then of course it is the manager’s role to intervene, but often they just need to step back and allow people to learn their way.


In the days when apprenticeships were the main way for people to learn a job, so much of that learning was done through trial and error. The master would coach the apprentice on how to do a task and let them do it. Often they would start with simple tasks, where mistakes were less costly, and allow the apprentice to grow their confidence and abilities at the same time.


Managers who have been hired because they are experienced managers, but have limited understanding of the work content can also get in the way of team members doing their work. While they need to show results for their team’s work, they also need to trust those who are experts in their particular field. Being a manager doesn’t mean you have to know everything.


‘Mother hen’ managers or those who micromanage tasks can get in the way of developing people. Believe that team members can work things out for themselves and you'll help grow the next generation of competent managers.

Topics: staying calm, Physical Reactions, Listening, Emotional intelligence, Conflict Resolution

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