Traditionally, we think of management as measuring an employee’s performance based on how well they execute tasks. Throughout my career, each position of leadership I’ve held has become increasingly complex. Makes sense, right? I’ve played many roles, and with each my stress level increased and my perception of the value I create diminished despite expending a lot more energy.
But is that entirely necessary? Maybe not.
Can you accomplish more with less?
Conversely, a minimalist manager would measure performance based on eventual results, rather than individual tasks. If employees are meeting goals and accomplishing directives, then their approach to work makes no difference, within reason of course. Instead of looking at each step an employee takes, focus more on where they’re going with clear and concise direction. Thus, creating more space for leadership, coaching, and mentoring.
Now, I’m not insisting that managers approach minimalism by shaving their heads and clearing their desk of all but a pen and single sheet of paper! But we can declutter redundant tasks and create more space. Make room to focus on the larger picture. Remember, as a manager, your responsibility is to lead your team, make big decisions, inspire, motivate, and set direction, not necessarily the execution of individual tasks. Take a step back from the daily work and create space for employees to flourish.
In general, we tend to fear ambiguity. Even empty space can be useful, because it’s full of nothing. Think of it this way, doors and windows in a house are useful for what is not there.
Contrary to what we may think we’re capable of through digitalization, we can’t be omni-competent, omni-informed, or omni-present. You must choose your absence, and make it count. Before I lose you, consider a little organization within a minimalist approach to work.
Schedules, calendars, and requirements are certainly not the makeup of freedom, but there are ways to manage with a minimalist mindset.
Here are a few:
Trust but verify.
Trust is important in all relationships. If you trust your employees and they trust you, anxieties and stresses that can get in the way of work begin to disappear.
Scale back on meetings.
Make your meetings truly count and cut back where you can. You may find that much more work gets done. At least it creates time for that to happen.
Streamline your services.
The more you can streamline your services and create systems, the more you can dramatically reduce the mental workload involved in management.
Lead with your mind, not with your time. Reduce your responsibilities by allocating them to skilled team members. Again, trust but verify.
Take the time to eliminate the unnecessary, the superfluous, and the questionable tasks. Then, decide what you can effectively delegate. Focus on the work that you do best and that has the greatest impact on the business.
Your mind is your greatest asset, not your time.
Management minimalism allows us to clear out the stuff that is holding us back and focus on what really matters.
Trust me, your productivity will thank you.