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It is almost by definition that knowledge workers are the most knowledgeable in their field within their organisation. It almost goes without saying, but if they aren’t then why are they there?

Being experts in their field, it is more effective to manage knowledge workers by clearly specifying desired outcomes and letting them loose to achieve those outcomes.

Micro-managing any employee let alone knowledge workers is a time-consuming and frustrating exercise for everyone. But worse, micro-managing does not scale when there are many employees and is made worse when many employees are now working remotely.

Manage employees by pushing responsibility and accountability out to the organisational fringes commensurate with the project or opportunity risk, employee knowledge and skill, and the resources required. It is good practice to be provided with a plan for how the employee intends to manage their projects, but let them own and run their own projects within a safe-to-fail environment.

What are you doing to push responsibility and accountability for results to the decision frontier – where management need not tread?

Adapted from Peter Drucker, Management Challenges for the 21st Century.