As a founder or manager of a business, we must delegate tasks and manage workflows.

At times over-managing workflows and approaches can create a low-trust environment that can slow the speed of your business down to a halt.

The speed of business and the speed of trust are one and the same. Creating too many check-ins, too many rules, and too many expectations can cause your employees which you have delegated the end work product to, to start to walk on eggshells for fear of punishment.

Does having employees tiptoeing around, walking on eggshells, sound like an empowered, productive, and driven workforce to you? Heck no! 

As a founder or manager it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders at times. If that’s how you’ve been feeling, and you have an entire team that you hired to get things done, then you are probably micromanaging and failing to trust your team.

If you have already gone through a methodical hiring process then you must give your employees the breathing room to perform, to figure things out for themselves, and to follow standard protocols that are already in place.

If your business has almost no standard operating procedures then management is bound to be hovering and wondering if you are doing things right. This is entirely their fault for not teeing up their employees for success. Employees are bound to screw up or do things wrong if they’ve never been properly trained or onboarded with standard operating procedures that they can check back on whenever they need to.

If there are roles and responsibilities in place, and the management and the production force are on the same page about those responsibilities, then the management must step back and allow the team to perform.


When you take a step back and trust your employees to take ownership and find creative solutions on their own, your employees will notice that you are trusting them. When they feel this, they automatically do not want to let you down.

They are human beings after all and they know if you are breathing down their neck or if you are trusting them.

Having trust in others to do their job is part of the “non-doing” that management has to be skillful at. Just like magnificent public speakers and musicians know how to use well-placed and effective pauses, great management must also know when to pause, step back, and trust.

This same principle goes for paternal matters. A parent and a manager are in positions of power, influence, and leadership. They are in effect “holding the energy for the room.”

Have you ever noticed when the boss is not in his or her sound mind? They are distraught about something unknown. Everyone inside the company notices and subconsciously mirrors the same emotions.

If the leader is effervescent everyone else subconsciously mirrors this. Managers are like conductors of an orchestra. Everyone in the orchestra is paying attention to the conductor.

Our mirror neurons have no other choice but to model the emotions of the leadership.

Mirror neurons: a class of neurons that respond when a person performs a certain physical movement and also when another person is observed doing the same. They underlie imitative action and awareness and understanding of another person’s act, intention, or emotion.

Maintain a Spirit of Cooperation When Giving Feedback

Management inside a company should look for coaching moments, and check in on their team’s ‘coachability’ and willingness to accept change from time to time, but it should be delivered in a one-on-one conversation format, meaning there is a healthy flow of dialogue in both directions.

Coaching should never be a one way conversation. If it’s a one-sided conversation it’s a lecture. One-sided conversations lack empathy for what the other person is thinking or personally going through.

There may even be well-thought-out logic in their unique, creative approach to a business problem that you aren’t seeing, that is unless you listen to them and find out what’s going on and how they are thinking.

They will only be open, honest and vulnerable with what’s on their minds (again going back to mirror neurons) if they feel that their management is also open, honest and vulnerable. 

Some leadership is extremely secretive and guarded like they are the masters of the universe. What kind of environment does that create? One where the employees are also extremely secretive and guarded. See where I am going with this?

The People Behind the Metrics

Treating people like machines is not realistic and is heartless.

This is the root cause of corporate culture that employees begin to resent. Managers must be sensitive to that fact that other humans can let you down, because they are human.

They are going to be imperfect, they have their own lives that are managing the best they can, and their production levels will vary.

Sometimes a top salesperson will close 10 deals a month, sometimes 20. What’s going to drive that salesperson more than anything is ownership in their business priorities and creative liberty to approach their business priorities how they best see fit.

If you take away their autonomy at any time, especially while they are performing in the top 5%, you have done something very unwise. That’s saying to your people that your rules are more important than their unique approaches which are getting results. Never, ever, do this to your workforce. I don’t think there is anything else that can crush morale of top performers faster.

Results are always more important than forcing your team to follow the standard operating procedures word for word and line for line. 

Following the standard process is important to an extent, but what’s more effective at getting results and keeping morale high is deploying incentive structures in order to drive behaviors. As a manager, never expect the behavior you are looking for to come from “helicoptering” around to make sure the job is done “right.”

This style of management will hurt morale and cut into productivity time. Employees may at first try to rationalize the micromanagement as your leadership style and say amongst each other “it is what it is”. However, in the long run, it will wear them down emotionally to the point where they disengage, deliver the bare minimum, and move on to another company where they feel trusted and valued.

Each person on your team must know what they are working toward. They have to know the clear path they are trudging forward on towards promotions, raises and an equity stake in the company.

A lack of clarity creates anxiety. Let me say that again, a lack of clarity creates anxiety. Give your team a clear roadmap in front of them so they know the weekly targets and overall objections the team is working toward as individuals and as one unit.

To other founders and managers, let me say this. I know it’s hard to let go, but by maintaining a vise grip on your day-to-day operations, you actually risk suppressing the talent you have already trusted to succeed. Employees in this predicament may grow disenchanted, resentful, or find themselves burned out, and the management style you deploy has everything to do with it.

Management consulting is a $250 billion industry in America and it’s growing at about 10% a year.

Effective people management is one of the hardest things for a founder or manager to learn. But when you give your employees clear direction and the necessary room to breathe and to be creative, you may be surprised at what you can achieve together. When questioning if your grip is too tight, pause, step back, and trust.

Sometimes less is more.