Three ways to manage

Three different ways to manage people.

Here is how you do it – This is the way of (micro)management, telling people what is the right way to do their job. We like to think of this way as a way of the past, a way of the age of manual production lines and repetitive tasks. The objective of this way is to achieve more with less, and for this reason jobs are highly scrutinized, controlled and standardized.

Here is what to do – This is the way of project management. There’s a job to do, the manager splits it into discrete tasks, and assigns the tasks to those who report to them (or sometimes those who report to them get to pick the task they want). There’s usually some sort of performance review attached to this way, and it’s fairly straightforward, as the tasks need to be ready on time, on budget, and on scope.

Here is what to figure out – This is the way of leadership. We know we have a problem, we have identified the problem and agreed on a fairly broad definition of it, and now let’s bring our expertise, knowledge, skills together to attempt to solve it. Measurements do not really fit well with this way of management, and that’s perhaps why so many people feel uncomfortable with it.

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