No one anticipated the massive shift to home-based remote work that happened in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic. A new study surveyed managers and employees alike for what worked and what didn’t as they navigated managing and being managed remotely. The key finding was a subtle but important shift in how employees expected their managers to work with them. They wanted their managers to be present, hands-on, and operationally vigilant without being intrusive. They don’t want their managers to micromanage them; they want their managers to micro-understand their work. The author explains what micro-understanding is, cites examples of it in practice, and identifies three situations in which it is particularly important: Setting priorities and clarifying, problem solving, and checking in and showing compassion.
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