Is It Better To Be A Hands-On or Hands-Off Manager

A great example of this is the section on task-relevant maturity. This part of the book became very personal for me as it taught me how to formulate the most useful management question that I use in interviews: “Is it better to be a hands-on or hands-off manager?”

Venture Capitalist and author Ben Horowitz wrote the introduction to the latest edition of Andy Grove’s classic book, “High Output Management.” He published it also on Medium. He included this classic question.

What was your initial reaction when you first read that quote? I bet that answer is an indicator to how you manage.

My first reaction with very little thought was, “Yes.”

Grove said, “It depends.”

As a leader, you must observe your co-workers. You must  provide the focus of the organization and an understanding of each person’s role. Then you observe how they are doing.

Some people just take off and start doing. They don’t need someone to tell them what to do next. Or how to do it. They are creative and motivated. Just pull gently on the reins to keep them on the path and get out of the way.

Some people, often new one to the organization or inexperienced ones, need more guidance. Perhaps a few more 1-on-1 meetings to ask questions and provide some guidance.

Knowing your people, their strengths, their motivations, their weaknesses, and then acting appropriately will reward you with a high output team that enjoys the journey.

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