Managing by Context

There was a great slideshow about how Netflix deals with the management of their company.  Lots of good stuff including a question that should be asked of a supervisor every so often in order to get a sense of where you stand and what you need to do; “If I told you I were leaving, how hard would you work to change my mind to stay?”

One slide really struck a chord with me:

Managers: When you are tempted to “control” your people, ask yourself what context you could set instead

Are you articulate and inspiring enough about goals and strategies?

I tend to try to be an efficient person.  Being efficient doesn’t always lend itself to laying out good context for the people that I supervise.  I make the mistake of assuming that they understand what we are doing and why we are doing it and then blame them for not getting the job done.

I tend to be someone who wants those I supervise to take an idea and run with it, but this is one area in which I could use some work as I tend to want to know everything that happens.  This is one skill that I would like to hone.  It may not even be how I manage that needs to change, just the context that I put directions:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.  Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” ~Antoine De Saint-Exupery, Author of The Little Prince

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