Research in educational and industrial-organizational psychology is uncovering many of the secrets behind how people learn best. One of the findings is that people learn best when they’re allowed to come to solutions themselves instead of being lead right to it or, worse yet, simply told what to do. Shifting to the workplace, managers need to find the right balance between hand-holding their employees and guiding them to the right approach to arrive at the solution themselves. 

Facilitating is Better than Micromanaging 

The problem with micromanaging is that employees never really learn how to operate independently. The Harvard Business Review found that the best managers acted more like coaches in that they were less concerned with micromanaging and prescribing rules to follow. The best managers facilitated their employees to arrive at their own solutions. 

Good Managers Have Structure 

Anyone who played sports growing up knows the importance of having a strict schedule in terms of practice times and tip-off time. What’s more, each practice had some kind of goal and structure to it. Bring that same structure to your meetings by having a clear start and stop times. Bring an actionable goal to each meeting and create a sense of team purpose in order to increase morale, collaboration, and productivity. 

Share Constructive Feedback Compassionately 

The best coaches have a way of conveying what they want to say without putting anyone down or making them feel like they let down the team. There’s a way to be direct without being disagreeable. Remember, coaches often lead by example. When a leader can present constructive feedback compassionately, other employees are encouraged to speak up if they see a problem. 

Stimulate Employees’ Own Ideation 

Instead of micromanaging or telling employees what to do, consider asking employees stimulating questions like, “would this way be better, or that way?” Inspiring a collaborative workplace is a much more important long term. 

Provide a Solutions-oriented Approach 

Coaches always have a goal in mind and think in terms of solutions rather than problems. Thinking in terms of problems breeds a defeatist mentality that often becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy that torpedoes a project. Think about where you’d like to have your team go then marshall everyone’s strengths to get there.

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