Management Styles: Are You a "Hands-Off" Franchisor?

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hands off management franchisor

What’s your leadership style? Not sure? This article series will help you work out which management style best encapsulates your approach to business. Here, we look at ‘hands-off’ franchisors and how they can maximise their franchise’s success by taking a step back.


In the last decade or so, the ‘hands-off’ approach to management has risen in popularity. Bosses have relished the opportunity to trust their employees and spend more time growing their businesses, while workers have enjoyed feeling empowered to manage their own workload.

Meanwhile, teams in other organisations have complained about being ‘micromanaged’, as their supervisors hover over them, scrutinising their timetables and working style. Some say taking a ‘hands-off’ approach is detrimental to any business, and a good boss takes an active role in their workforce’s day-to-day operations. But there are ways to make this management style work for you – and your company.

How to tell if you’re a ‘hands-off’ manager

If you’re unsure which management category you fall into, here are a few tell-tale signs you’re a ‘hands-off’ manager:

  • You let employees build their own timetable and way of working
  • You trust your employees to complete tasks to the best of their abilities, and don’t regularly follow-up on their work
  • You prefer to complete more complicated jobs if you think it’ll take longer to teach someone how to do them than it would for you to finish the task yourself
  • You’re sometimes guilty of overlooking opportunities for professional development among your staff

Advantages of the hands-off management style

  • You don’t risk annoying your employees by forcing them to do things your way or constantly asking for updates on their progress
  • You give workers the space to come up with creative new ideas and innovative ways of working
  • Employees are likely to feel trusted and self-sufficient, boosting not only their job satisfaction, but also your staff retention levels
  • You have extra time to focus on building the business and pursuing new leads

How to boss the ‘hands-off’ management style

Different management styles have different drawbacks, and the ‘hands-off’ approach has its own set of disadvantages. For instance, bosses may become distanced from the business’s day-to-day operations, miss out on information and start to feel they no longer have a solid understanding of their company’s direction. Managers might also overlook opportunities for employee professional development, leading to dissatisfaction among their workers and, ultimately, poor staff retention figures.

So, if you’re a naturally ‘hands-off’ boss, how can you play to your management style strengths and give your employees the freedom to optimise their personal workflow?

1. Set goals

Any franchisor should be thinking about how they can develop their business in the future. But it’s important your ambitions filter down to your workforce; give your employees the chance to play a part in the franchise’s growth by explaining your strategies and setting targets.

2. Monitor performance

Having a ‘hands-off’ management style often means avoiding constant supervision, but you should find a monitoring process that strikes the right balance. For instance, you might choose to focus on measuring how well employees achieved their targets. Once you’ve done this, giving clear feedback and setting further goals will allow you to step back until the next review session.

3. Give rewards

Franchisors with a ‘hands-off’ management style sometimes inadvertently create a work culture in which employees feel their hard work goes unnoticed. This resentment can lead to poor performance statistics and staff retention rates. Make sure you recognise the achievements of hard-working employees and reward them fairly.

4. Don’t be tempted to reward every employee every time

Try to gather enough information about your workers’ achievements to reward the workers who have generated great results for your franchise. Trying to be your employees’ best friend and creating an easy-going atmosphere might be tempting, but it probably won’t help you grow your business in the long run.

5. Provide training

‘Hands-off’ management styles can sometimes cause bosses to overlook professional development training. Some business owners believe offering learning opportunities can waste staff time and diminish productivity. But providing workers with extra skills will give you the chance to delegate more tasks and your employees the confidence to do their job well.

6. Hire employees carefully

The more hard-working and passionate your staff are, the more you’ll be able to leave them to get on with their tasks while you focus on building your franchise. As Randy Komisar, Stanford University lecturer and partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, says:

"If you hire badly, you'll spend most of your time as a manager dealing with personnel issues and you will find that 75 percent of your time is dealing with problems."

7. Don’t be afraid to ruffle a few feathers

Being a ‘hands-off’ franchisor means knowing when to make difficult decisions in order to improve your team. Although you won’t be working closely with your workforce, you should aim to identify and examine any issues among your employees.

You’ll need to be able to manage workers who disagree with the company’s direction and challenge people who may not be pulling their weight. Sometimes, you may even need to let a staff member go, but make sure their mistakes aren’t down to a lack of support or professional development. Randy Komisar explains:

"There are high costs to getting rid of a B player if they have the competence to be a B+ or even an A player. But if they don't, you need to resolve that quickly. Organisations regress to the mean. If you have a bunch of B players that are not advancing, your organisation will start to regress to their level."


8. Treat your employees as individuals

If you’re a ‘hands-off’ manager and fail to establish a personal bond with each staff member, you risk coming off as detached and self-absorbed. When you welcome a new face into your business, take the time to find out a bit about them so you can make sure they’re fulfilling their potential. If you know each person’s strengths and weaknesses, you can tailor their responsibilities to reflect them, boosting your business’s efficiency over time.

Become a top franchisor

We have a huge resource of articles dedicated solely to franchisors. So, if you’re looking for the latest tips and advice when it comes to running a business in the franchise world, look no further. Browse our articles for franchisors to see the latest publications.

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