The Leadership Frontier

The Leadership Frontier

When it comes to leadership, there are generally two camps — micromanagement and macromanagement. After briefly touching on these two styles of leadership, I’d like to introduce a 3rd style — one in which I believe works best in most situations; I refer to it as “Active Engagement.” At TAG, part of our core values lay in our people — and we believe they are the catalysts for much-needed change in the industry.

We’ve all had those bosses that had the proverbial thumb on everything you did, and generally speaking we don’t enjoy this manner of supervision. Webster defines micromanagement as “to try to control or manage all the small parts of (something, such as an activity) in a way that is usually not wanted or that causes problems.” Certainly the really tough micromanagers cause problems, if nothing else in terms of morale and mistrust. But is the other side any better?

Macromanagement (Laissez Faire)

Some refer to the other end of the spectrum as macromanagement; I tend to refer to this as Laissez Faire. Webster states this is “a philosophy or practice characterized by a usually deliberate abstention from direction.” Basically in this model you’re completely hands off and have little to no idea what is going on with your people and processes. While some folks might think this is ideal (“you mean the boss never checks up on me…what’s not to like?!”), strategically speaking this is bad for both the employee and the organization (i.e, no feedback, no career growth/professional development, lack of communication/prioritization, and disjointment from organizational goals).  “Abstention from direction” is not leadership at all–this is a cop-out and should rarely (if ever) be used as a management tool.

Active Engagement

I’d like to offer a viable, balanced-approached leadership style, that of active engagement. With active engagement, you are very aware of what is going on in the lives and performance of your employees, while at the same time not dictating every move and forcing them to seek permission before hitting the “Enter” key. The folks at TAG enjoy being a part of the decision making process, they’re innovative and experts that are key in transforming how we manage our clients. Spot -checks, walking “out and about” to see what’s taking up the most time on the floor, we try to create an environment where people know we care about what they’re doing and we’re here to help. When a decision is made to move forward on a project, we do so knowing communication is paramount to the project’s success…both from the top down and the ground-up. My view of active engagement finds its roots in one of the Air Force’s tenets of Airpower: centralized control with decentralized execution. Concentrating our efforts to fulfill TAG’s highest strategic priorities can only be accomplished through centralized control. On the other hand, the flexibility to take advantage of potential opportunities and to effectively respond to shifting market circumstances can only be achieved through decentralized execution. Making decisions at the lowest level possible results a better use of time, creating a much more robust return on our greatest investment (time), and increases the likelihood of buy-in.

Benefits of Active Engagement

While there may be times when you need to exercise various leadership styles, I believe you should strive for active engagement in your management approach to your people. Benefits are numerous–higher level of communication, increased motivation, and tenacious commitment to corporate goals. One cannot help but build trust among team members, and when you build this firm level of trust you can count on productive members, more focused vision, and a greater sense of cohesion among team members. This is the type of environment we are striving to attain here at TAG Resources, and we’re confident that our business model is truly changing the industry, one plan at a time.

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