Learning & Development, Talent

The Importance of Having and Sharing a Vision

Most managers understand that micromanaging their teams is counterproductive. Micromanaging, or dictating the intricate details of how an employee completes his or her work, not only is inefficient but also has significant and negative impacts on morale.

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Nobody likes when someone is looking over his or her shoulder all the time, nor do people enjoy feeling like their manager doesn’t trust them to do a decent job without close supervision.

The Big Picture

At the same time, many managers who understand the downsides of micromanagement feel like they have no choice and that their teams need that extra supervision because their team members can’t see the big picture. They make decisions that, while possibly appropriate for a specific task, are counterproductive to the overall mission of the team.

For example, a customer service representative might give a discount to a customer, which has the immediate benefit of pleasing that customer but a long-term detriment relative to a team’s revenue goals.

The issue in this hypothetical, as with many real-life situations, isn’t the employee’s incompetence but rather the manager’s failure to establish a shared vision. How can employees successfully put their decision into the context of a broader team vision if they don’t know or understand that vision?

Articulating a Shared Vision

Many managers understand the need for having and sharing a vision, at least in principle, but are lacking in the execution. Specifically, they underestimate just how difficult it can be to establish and reinforce that comprehension.

“With no North Star, employees sail into the rocks. Enroll employees in building that vision/strategy, don’t just foist it on them,” writes Scott Mautz in an article for Inc. “The former nets commitment, the latter compliance. And be prepared to communicate it more often than you ever thought you could.”

It’s important to note that it isn’t enough to just write the vision on the whiteboard or state it at the start of the year. Managers need to champion and reinforce the vision in virtually everything they do, from team meetings to performance appraisals.

Many managers feel they need to be extremely hands-on with their teams because some team members simply “don’t get it.” What they often fail to recognize, though, is that they are to blame—not the employees—if their employees don’t grasp the mission.

Being able to clearly define and effectively reinforce a shared vision can make a world of difference in terms of performance, productivity, and morale.