October 19, 2008

Being a hands-off manager in an organization with predominantly hands-on management culture can be a frustrating experience at times. Surprising as it may seem, even in this age of knowledge worker, rampant micro management and repulsion for anything hands-off or true empowerment is prevalent in many organizations. For old timers it may not mean much as they have been living under the shadow of micro management for most of their professional career, but for the younger generation this hands-on approach is a bit uncomfortable.

The biggest problem with hands-on approach is that it prevents development of people. Instead of mentoring and coaching, a better part of the manager's time is spent in criticizing and judging people. Empowerment takes a back seat and command and control becomes a norm.

People become mere implementer of ideas they don't own. This often results in poor quality of output. People engagement suffers. They don't feel like partners in creating something bigger and better. Instead, they feel like running errands for their managers. All these work like creativity killers in the organization and act as major hindrance in an organization's quest to reach its true potential.

Isn't it time for shunning hands-on management in favour of hands-off management? Ingraining hands-off management culture in an organization's DNA would go a long way in –
  • Developing people through mentorship and coaching.
  • Increasing creative problem solving throughout the organization.
  • Speedier and more effective planning and execution through empowerment.
  • Spreading new ideas.
  • Developing a learning organization.
  • Decline of organizational politics.
  • Attracting and retaining talent.



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