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Not-So-Hands-On Management

23 Jun 2021 4:00 PM | Anonymous

Dear Sophia,

I'm a mid-career professional that has spent so many years striving to "get to" a leadership role that I'm not facing one bit of culture shock in turning my talents to leading others. I'm very motivated and don't need a lot of check-ins with my own boss, so my struggle in particular is managing others who need more of a hands-on approach. What are some strategies? Do you have any suggested readings?


Lilly the New Leader

Dear Lilly,

Congratulations on landing the leadership position you’ve worked toward! Leadership roles can be quite rewarding, but managing others is a challenge, especially when they have a different learning or work style than you. Since every individual has their own way of thinking and approaching relationships with colleagues and managers, you will need to adapt your management style for each person you lead. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Check with HR at your organization to see if they provide any management training. Many large organizations and universities offer management courses and certificate programs through HR. You may also find management courses through continuing education departments at your local university or online. Working through scenarios and chatting with other managers in your class can help give you insight and allow you to get used to different management techniques. In particular, you might look for courses on professional coaching, a technique that may help you empower your employees to do more with less involvement from you.

Although you should strive to be fair, you don’t need to manage everyone exactly the same way. Feel free to schedule more one-on-one time with your employees who need a hands-on approach, and less time for those who don’t. When onboarding new employees, ask how they learn best and how they prefer to work with management. You can explain your management style and preferences, but let them know you’ll do your best to meet their needs. Be sure to continually evaluate how things are going and adjust as needed. It may be wise to schedule more frequent check-ins at first, then reduce them later if they don’t seem necessary. 

There are many excellent books on management out there, so browse to see what might best help you learn about your situations. Here are a few I’ve found to be helpful:

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

The One Minute Manager 

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

It sounds like you’re motivated, so I’m confident you’ll use all your resources. Managing people may never be easy, but keep learning and you’ll feel like a seasoned leader in no time!

Confidentially Yours,


P.S. Now that I’ve shared my thoughts, I’m curious what the amazing community of educators reading this post has to say. Chime in, folks! What thoughts do you have for Lilly? Share your thoughts on the Global Leadership League’s LinkedIn page. Have a question for Sophia yourself, ask here!

Please note: This response is provided for informational purposes only. The information contained herein is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice or legal opinions of a licensed professional. Contact a personal attorney or licensed professional to obtain appropriate legal advice or professional counseling with respect to any particular issue or problem.


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