Just Because You Can…

When Jurassic Park came out in 1993 I thought it was the best movie ever. Kids, Jeff Goldblum, dinosaurs, action adventure, Jeff Goldblum, suspense, and great one liners. And did I mention Jeff Goldblum? 

The phrases “Hold onto your butts”, “Spared no expense”, and “Mr. Hammond, the phones are working” are used often in our family, but the best quote that remains with me to this day is “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

I tend to be a perfectionist, and fight against micromanaging the team all the time. That phrase has helped me rethink many of my actions. 

In this blog I’ll share 4 tips that hopefully will help you in your managing routine. 

  1. While you may be an expert at multitasking, there are times you need to slow down, close the many tabs in your browser and focus on the 1 thing. The fact that I can do a lot of things at the same time really needs to be balanced with the question “should I?” I really don’t have to answer that email right now. I really don’t need the distraction that comes when I see a new project has come in. I should focus and complete the one task that I am working on, just to be sure that I keep my attention and focus on the task at hand, thus giving the project 100% of the time the client deserves to have on it. 
  1. While you may have access to the whole project board, unless you see a major mistake leave it alone. If it’s not your project, don’t get involved. If you should get involved, often an email sharing your observation is all that needs to happen. Sometimes it’s more important to let the person own the project – and the mistake – than it is to handle it yourself.
  1. Piggybacking on the above, if the client isn’t happy with the phrasing of a social post, or the way an image is layed out, my first response is “That’s an easy fix, I can just handle it real quick.” But really, my job is to send it back to the creator. My ability to quickly respond and fix a situation has a check to make me think “should I be the one to fix it?”  While it may be quicker to fix the edit yourself, your team member may never learn what the client wants if you don’t send it back for correction. 
  1. And lastly, just because you know the answer doesn’t mean you should jump in and take over the conversation. When on a team chat, it’s important to let people talk. Especially if it’s their department. While you may know how to phrase something better, or with more information, it’s polite and professional to let people own their department, and share their information the best way they can. Later if needed, you can always add to their discussion.

Being a manager means you’re responsible for the department, but also responsible for the learning process of those under you. It’s important to give people the freedom to make their own decisions, and sometimes their own mistakes. It’s more important for you to know your abilities and the limits you need to put on the amount of control you keep over your people.

It’s also important to take some time for yourself, so maybe tonight you should pop some popcorn and enjoy Jurassic Park – and Jeff Goldblum!