How To Handle An Efficient Staff?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss feeling not needed: How can I handle this without taking the no hands approach or looking insecure?

I feel like my staff doesn’t need me or want me involved in some of the day-to-day operations. I have a senior staff member of whom they look to for almost everything. How can I handle this without taking the no hands approach or looking insecure?

Signed, Director

Dear Director:

Kudos to you! It appears you’ve done well selecting team members who have been trained and who understand the goals & objectives. The Senior Staff member whom the team now looks to would not be there – without you giving proper direction and guidance.

You need not “feel’ insecure.Considering we do not know all of the details: I presume you are still the individual responsible for reviews. If you are, it provides you detailed insight, though on a less regular basis – still you receive it. If you have delegated the reviews to the Sr. Staff Member, hopefully your structure still requires your input & feedback not only on the individuals, but also a review from the staff on their  senior staff member

(I threw the 2nd option in, as it may benefit small organizations to keep all involved in reviews). Let us look at the general issues of your situation: Your comments included that you “feel’ like the staff doesn’t: a) need you, or b) want you – involved in day-to-day ops. There is a distinct difference. But, more important, you mentioned the word “feel.” You do not know for sure; hence, you may be analyzing this without enough factual info. Think about the need vs. the want, and is it limited to the day-to-day?

You are the Director. You know your responsibilities. You know to whom you’ve delegated what, it is in their job description. Stand back and, and give it thought. Draw an organizational chart to – visualize and understand. Know that you do understand who does what – within the small and efficient team. For them to look to the Sr. Staff member may simply be a natural result of how well you organized and trained the team.

Review the organization’s objectives. Are all within reach? Do not hesitate to look over past employee reviews to see what their goals were annually. Do not neglect to look at your own, to be sure you are fulfilling your obligations & promises. (If you do not have job descriptions, think about it, could help with reviews).

If yes, you do know who does what. Now, you have time to look toward the future. You have time to talk to the owners/partners about their vision. You have time to set meetings with the team, individually & perhaps by questionnaire, then by group, to see what the vision & needs may be. What could be improved?

If not, you have some work to do. Again though, you have the time to do it. A good manager/director stays in touch, yet knows how to set the next goals. As noted above, let owners/partners know what you would like to do and find out their goals. Agree on an agenda. Set meetings, create a questionnaire, or do one-on-one. i.e.: Can IT use improvement, the phone system, the building, the benefits, customer feedback, the PR,,¦ Let owners/partners see that you are still the leader – plan meetings, make them “fun’ and “interactive.’ Set the goals in the next 1, 5, 10 yrs. Healthy debate is good. This is your foot back in the door.

One last thought. You “felt’ that you were not needed or possibly wanted to be in the day-to-day ops. Take a moment to draft a note to your self on what you were thinking. You do not want to look threatened (insecure), nor do you wish to appear to be meddling (no-hands). You need to be confident in your position. Remind your self of your accomplishments and your shortcomings. Brainstorm in draft, you’ll get a better handle on it – in print. We always have room for self-improvement. “Raise the Bar.” Think WEGO and ego will be enriched. Do let us know how things go over theses next several weeks.

Kamila Cooprider, Guest Respondent