Dealing with a Hands-Off Boss – HBR

Dealing with a Hands-Off Boss – HBR.

A solid piece that lays out the difference between the “hands on” and the hands off” boss.  The former would likely be called a micro-managing boss in more derogatory terms.

I like that the author lays out that if someone leans into a hands off style, there are valid perspectives that can accompany this lens that have nothing to do with laziness or lack of confidence in managing unfamiliar or rigorous subject matter and rather have to do with empowerment.  Hands off bosses can also focus their energy into areas of value that are more unique to a strategic role.

That said, everyone will need to see-saw between hands off and hands on approaches depending on the need of the employee or the task at hand.  Newer employees will often have a much smaller range of movement and certain projects may demand the same tight circle particularly with quickly moving deadlines or high stakes.

With luck, the long term game for the most senior employees will merit a hands off style of high degree of autonomous file management with a high degree of trust that facts have been checked, templates followed etc.

Though you’ll likely have a default style that can suit most circumstances, there will be fumbles where the style is a mis-match for the employee or the situation requiring a quick re-calibration (and perhaps an apology).

I like that this lecture suggested that you have a microscope in one eye and telescope in the other.  Perhaps the same should be said for the ability to alternate in management styles as the situation demands.

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