TITO versus TITO

Are you a TITO manager or a TITO leader?

The focus of a TITO manager is Time In The Office.

The focus of a TITO leader is Trust In The Outcomes.

I have worked with both 

TITO manager

The TITO manager measures employee performance by the hours they spend in the office.

The TITO manager can be observed looking at his/her watch when you arrive at work, when you go and return from lunch and when you leave to go home. They may even check you in and out when you take other much-needed breaks.

This sort of management can lead to employees lingering the office so as not to be seen as one of the first to leave 

It stifles efficiency. Why would I be efficient and finish everything I had to do in 6 hours when I am expected to be in the office for 8?

Employees can start to use working extra hours as a badge of honour and it breeds a really bad culture. This culture is one in which employees know that if they stay at their desk for 8 hours, they will also stay out of trouble. They believe they will be perceived as harder working, dedicated and responsible.

Productivity plunges as employees fill their time with web surfing, social media and the like.

This is industrial age management when work was conducted on assembly lines.

It has no place in the workplace today and yet I still see it when visiting organisations.

TITO Leader

The TITO leader measures employee performance by outcomes.

The TITO leader measures, recognises and rewards productivity by focusing on outcomes not hours. They give employees the autonomy to manage their working day as best suited to achievement of the outcomes needed 

Employees are clear about the outcomes to be achieved and work towards them in the most effective manner. 

The TITO leader promotes a high performance culture with flexibility. Innovation, creativity and experimentation are recognised and rewarded.

Discussion about new ways of working and new ways of thinking is actively encouraged.

The TITO leader doesn't abdicate responsibility but allows employee self-direction and self- management whilst always being available to provide support and remove obstacles along the way.

 They provide guardrails or principles to guide employees and keep them aligned with organisational goals.

The TITO leader earns the trust and respect of their employees. It is often clear that this is a significant change for the TITO manager to become a TITO leader and it will expose their vulnerability but that is also a display of courage.

When there is trust magic happens.


The TITO manager can become a TITO leader with a little help.

This is how I help. 

1.   Provide ongoing guidance and support

2.   Understand the work that needs to get done – where and when

3.   Work with managers (and employees) to define measurable outcomes other than hours in the office

4.   Communicate the change with employees and garner their support

5.   Start with small instances of letting go of control and realise the wins

6.   Scale the behaviour

7.   Allow more employee flexibility and gradually introduce more employee autonomy

8.   Mitigate issues as they arise

9.   Put in place real-time reviews with employees and recognition for desired behaviours

10. Ensure regular feedback from leader to employee and vice versa

This is not a linear process and activity can move backward and forward as needed.


We don't need managers to measure hours in a seat. I have an activity tracker device on my wrist that can do that!

Good leaders know what work has to be done and where it needs to be done.

They get out of the way and allow employees to get on with it.

Moving from TITO manager to TITO leader is a first step on the road to becoming an awesome leader.

Karen FerrisComment