Through implementation of (more) Self-Management your team of professionals will become more effective
This is about real empowerment, in stead of those empty words that are used often to make everyone feel good.
One of the biggest pitfalls of a manager is to compensate for poor results of your employees. The people in your team do not (all)function at the level that is required. You are functioning above average to very good (which is probably why they promoted you to manager) and if you see what the team delivers, tears come to your eyes…
I have been there’. My strong, hard to suppress tendency was to take the draft memo and ‘ improve’ it completely. This often had a good feel to it as well (…. It really feels like you are adding value as a manager). And the end product looked quite good for my own standards. The loss however is huge. The team member thought: ‘whatever, he will correct it anyway’. Plus she experienced a tremendous sense of deflation and loss of energy. In the mean time I became completely swamped with the workload, because for a team of 23 people it is impossible to compensate. Burn-out is lurking, and failure. The answer I believe in is self-management (apart from saying goodbye to those employees who will not make the standard – as terrible as that may seem in itself, but that is another story).
You already found out that for professionals self-management works better than ‘managing’ them. If you want to move beyond the level of headman/woman, then the only way is to give the team their own responsibilities. If you compensate too much for your team, you will be burned out and your team will be frustrated.
You just do not know how to move further beyond this point. The principles of self-management (please refer to LINK# SELF-MANAGEMENT) will help you to make self-management effective in your team or department. Main purpose is real empowerment, instead of the empty words that are often used to make everyone feel good.
Letting go of power
That does mean, however, that as team leader or manager, you need to be prepared to relinquish a part of your power (impossible to empower, without handing over power, as logical as that sounds, this is not easy in practice). The benefit, however, is that your team will notice this, and will move into their own power, their own leadership, in the space that you create for them. Roles and responsibilities become clear, where these are now often informal and unclear (otherwise the organisation would not function at all). Where self-management often fails, there are methods which can make this effective. Even though effective execution remains challenging.