How to Set Healthy Boundaries in the Workplace

Your management style is directly linked to the performance of your employees. And if your style leans more towards “hands-off,” it can be very empowering for your workers—the less you micromanage, the more it builds trust and helps your staff develop their own decision-making skills.

When Freedom Works Best For Your Staff

If you want to implement a more hands-off management style, it’s important to first assess the capabilities of your workers. Less micromanaging works best for skilled workers who clearly understand their role and what you expect. Within these boundaries, you can allow them the freedom to do their work, make their own decisions, and rely on you for guidance when they need advice. On the other hand, if you have brand new workers or those who are less skilled, it may work best to manage more closely.

Six Best Practices For “Hands-Off” Management

You can allow your staff more freedom with the following tactics:

  1. Conduct all necessary onboarding and training. Before you can let your employees work independently, you must give them the tools they need to do a good job. This includes thorough onboarding and follow-up training on a regular basis.
  2. Set parameters. Give every employee a list of their responsibilities. Clearly define situations when they’re free to make a judgment call, versus situations that require them to check with you before moving forward.
  3. Hold performance reviews. If you don’t already, set time aside for each of your employees to meet with you 1:1. This gives them time to ask questions, plus you can touch base on their performance—let them know what they’re doing well and what they may need to improve on.
  4. Set expectations and stick to them. Your workers should always have a clear idea of their responsibilities, and you must be sure they’re meeting them. If a worker appears to be taking advantage of your management style and not meeting requirements, you will need to review their performance and issue warnings, if necessary.
  5. Allow mistakes. Giving your workers the freedom to make their own choices means you’re also giving them the freedom to make mistakes. And errors are not necessarily a bad thing, provided you review the mistake with your employee and discuss ways to prevent it from happening again.
  6. Keep an open door. Just because you’re hands-off doesn’t mean you should be unavailable. Let your workers know your door is always open when they have questions or need help.

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