How to Manage by Doing

As a manager, my experience is limited. In my current job I manage a small team, which has grown over time and continues to grow today.

I think that it’s important for anyone in the business world to understand that management, in itself, is a skill that you must nurture. I’m learning that now, and enjoying the experience. And I think that one of the most important strategies to improve yourself as a manager, is to spend a day doing the job of your employees.

Managers, especially more general managers and small business owners who oversee all aspects of a business, too often don’t fully understand the day to day tasks of their employees. And if you don’t know or comprehend what it is that your employees do, it makes very difficult to manage them to the best of your ability.

Depending on the size of your team or company, I would recommend that once a month or every couple months, sit with each person for a day and watch them work. Help them work. Ask them questions about what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and whether or not they have any suggestions about how to make the job simpler, or more efficient.

Not only will you build a stronger bond with your employees, but you’ll get a better sense of how each task comes together to form a functioning business, and you might get some insights into changes that need to be implemented.

There’s nothing worse than learning about that thing that someone at your company does just because that’s the way they’ve been doing it for 20 years. You know, that thing that isn’t necessary or important nowadays because of the new systems, that thing that could have been saving someone hours every morning.

And if you’re looking for one more reason to practice this “manage by doing” strategy, I’ll give you one. Employees leave, whether it’s your choice or theirs. And knowing the day to day tasks of each employee would make it a whole lot easier to hire someone to replace them.