The scale you see at the top is one such nugget. The scale was developed by William Oncken, a consulting guru best known for his time management techniques and metaphorical monkeys. Centering around managers, Oncken's technique is to depict everyday issues and challenges as monkeys and show ways to remove them. The path to less stress and more time in your day to do YOUR REAL JOB is be rid of monkeys - especially those that are not yours. If you think about it, we all do this on a daily basis where we walk in the morning physched about our day and then are bombarded but OTHERS issues. As a manager you have a responsibility to those above and below you in the chain of command. So how do you be the best you can at your own job, while still supporting your staff, boss, and organizational needs?
The strategy with the depicted scale is to have the majority (if not all) of you staff performing above a #3. The more independent your staff is of your decisions or controls, the more time you have to spend on issues that you want to be engaged in. I added the arrows on the side to illustrate the key problems that managers face in moving up and down this scale.
- Trust: Many managers do not inherently trust their staff to make the right decisions. They are micro-managers because of this fault and feel the need to be involved in all decisions, no matter their importance. The issue of trust is hard to overcome but highlights a larger problem. If you do not trust your staff to make the decisions necessary in their position, why do they exist! Not everyone needs a #1 employee but allowing your employees to feel empowered with some decision making is one solution to overcoming this issue of trust.
- Self-Importance: A phenomena that my wife has actually coined, this is where individuals make themselves to be more important to a situation then they may need to be (or actually are). Many managers don't want staff making decisions simply because they like the control. There is a subtle difference here as trust implies you think your staff will not make the right decision, whereas self-importance means you view decision making as an issue of self-worth. The more decisions you make, the more self-worth you have. The logic is flawed and the issue of monkeys is even more prevelant as individuals with a high degree of self-importance often complain the most about having no time.
This scale works at all levels, even if you are in a subordinate role or at the bottom of the corporate ladder. DO NOT feel the need to be "yes" man(woman) and accept responsibility for everyone around you. DO work you feel you would be engaged in, and work with others to find common grounds on who takes responsiblity for issues on a daily basis. You will always a few monkeys on your back, but this scale provides a good check to remove many others before they turn into gorrillas. I was even told about an executive who has a monkey on his desk that he shifts to those walking in the door. This ensures you have a visual of issue at hand and that it is given to the appropriate person after the conversation finishes.
My 2 thoughts anyways......