After successfully completing firefighter promotion and getting a new job as a ranking officer in the fire service there will be a lot of pressure on you to be a good leader. One way to quickly earn the support and trust of those you are leading is through macromanagement.
Macromanagement is, “a hands-off leadership style that gives the employees control and autonomy over their work.” This means as a supervisor you focus on the big picture and larger goals of your crew instead of focusing and scrutinizing every small menial job your crew works on. A macromanager wants to build trust with their team and encourage them to learn as they go by doing things for themselves.
How to Macromanage
The first step to being a macromanager is giving and setting very clear expectations and guidelines for, well everything. You assign a job, explain the end goal, and let your subordinates just go for it. For example, here is your project, I expect it to be done in 24 hours using these resources. You define the end goal, but give your people the opportunity to use their own creativity and skillset to get the project completed on their own.
Open Communication & Support
A very important part of being a micromanager and letting your crew tackle all types of things on their own is being open to them coming to you when needed for help, clarification and so on. Trusting your crew to get jobs done solo is wonderful, but ensuring you are there for any support they may need is key. If you don’t establish this open communication with them, it may leave them feeling confused and frustrated as they work through projects and tasks. In addition, because they don’t realize they are able to come to you for help when needed, it may lead to things being done improperly resulting in failed work.
Observe From Afar
As a macromanager you still need to observe what your crew is doing, but you need to do it in a way that is not from a place of wariness. Observing your crew is especially important as someone who is freshly promoted and working with a new team of people. You still need to know what they can do, to find strengths and weaknesses. Even though you may not know their skill set first hand, you still want to give them the freedom and trust to work without you, their new supervisor, breathing down their neck. Some good ways to do this are to just observe from afar by giving them a variety of projects requiring different skills and just letting them tackle it and see what they are capable of. Remember, the goal of macromanagement is to focus more on the end result versus how it was achieved. To give a bit of workplace freedom where accessible. Even as a new supervisor, a new officer, you do not need to be a micromanager. You can learn about your new crew without holding their hand or standing next to them every second of the day.
Cheer Them On
A macromanager is a supportive leader every step of the way. The easiest way to show support is just to cheer your crew on as they go. Be there to tell them they are doing a good job as they progress on their tasks as well as show your appreciation for their hard work and a job well done. As cheesy as it sounds to be a cheerleader, just remember no one wants to work for someone that never gives them credit for their work. Having a supervisor who supports you and appreciates you makes you want to work harder and do more.
As a macromanager with open communication with your crew, discussing what happened after a project or a call is crucial to help everyone learn and grow. Once a project is completed or a call is over talk about it. What went right, what went wrong? Where can we improve next time? The key here is to take a step back, you allow them the chance to reflect on their own and add your input and support where needed. You are not analyzing their work or actions, they are doing that themselves with your guidance. This will come naturally so long as you keep communication open and come from a place of respect.
The goal as a macromanager is to let people work the way they want to work as long as the job is getting done within your stated guidelines. Creating a space where people are free to work as they see fit, versus how you see fit, makes a much more pleasant work environment for everyone, it builds trust amongst your crew, and will save you a lot of time to do your own work if you aren’t hovering watching your crew work all the time. However, as a ranking officer there will be times you need to reprimand your crew. There will be times when they simply fail and you will need to blatantly say it. Stuff happens, it cannot always be perfect. It is your job to take it all in stride and decide the best way to lead your crew in each situation.