Managing Trust and Time
Get that monkey off your back
Do you ever find it hard to delegate tasks? I do.
I often find it difficult to trust others to do tasks that I “see” perfectly in my head. Rather than form a team to accomplish a goal, I find myself attempting to do “all the things” myself. However, I am learning to relinquish a few tasks.
Because when I do, I find that the outcomes are far better when I allow others to shine and operate in their gifts. I can’t do everything. Nor should I.
The more we empower others and create an environment in which people can succeed, the greater the likelihood they will experience personal growth and success. When a manager reflects high levels of trust, that leader is able to serve more as a coach. Trusting relationships alongside leadership coaching, in turn, empowers individuals to act autonomously using their own judgment towards problem-solving and self-development.
Micro-management from leaders and managers has the potential to derail any ability to build trusting relationships. Oncken and Wass (1999) came up with three different kinds of management time: (1) boss-imposed, which comes with a penalty if not adhered to, (2) system-imposed, accommodating requests among peers, and (3) self-imposed time, work assigned by one’s self.
Through their monkey-on-the-back analysis, they examined how subordinate-imposed time comes into being. The “monkey” is transferred back and forth between manager and employee based on an assumption that the matter under consideration is a joint problem. Oncken and Wass recommend that managers transfer initiatives back to the employee and keep them there.
Paradoxically, managers tend to be more controlling and directive, often attempting to micro-manage every situation. But, if that manager has hired a talented team with the appropriate skill set for the task, any lack of trust may demotivate and demoralize the team. Nevertheless, it is important that managers provide their team with a sense of autonomy because the increased discretionary time will allow the manager to better manage the entire system, increase their leverage, and, ultimately, multiply the value of their time.
Godfrey, M. (2020, March 19). Design leadership: On trust and empowerment. UX Collective, https://uxdesign.cc/design-leadership-series-on-trust-and-empowerment-f62af0e3894f
Oncken Jr, W., & Wass, D. L. (1999). Who’s Got the Monkey?. Harvard Business Review, 77(6), 178–186.