If I was a fly on the wall what would I hear your employees say? Would it something like this?
He won’t allow me to make even the simplest decisions. She has to sign off on everything. It’s hard to do my job because there’s too much red tape.”
A very common problem most of us have faced in our career is working with a micro-manager whether it was our boss or a colleague. And, if we’re honest, we might even admit that we’re one of those people!
Are any of the following true for you?
- You check everyone’s work, even when you don’t need to.
- You need to know where everyone is at any given moment.
- You think too much about minor, unimportant issues that would work themselves out anyway.
- You watch people closely andtell the how to improve or what they should change to be even better.
Why do so many managers get hooked?
Some time it’s the culture. It’s the way we manage around here. Senior leaders micro-manages their direct staff. Their staff then adopts the same management style with their direct reports. The practice spreads and becomes part of the culture.
Another reason is because everyone is under the gun to get results or else. In today’s difficult economy, managers live in perpetual fear that their department better produce or be out of a job. This fear drives them to constantly check on their staff and their work.
The main is that many managers think success is based on authority. So they don’t allow their employees to make decisions because they believe that would be giving up their own power. The irony is when your people shine and do well; it enhances your reputation as a good leader.
Of course, there are situations where it’s important for you to be in control – a crisis situation you must take charge of immediately or a confidential project given to you by your boss. But, there are also situations, when you could relax a little, loosen the hand cuffs off and let your people find and implement the best solutions.
Three strategies for managing less to get more success!
- Start at the top.Hire an executive coach to help the senior leaders learn to trust and delegate to subordinates. Managers will then likely follow suit with their own direct reports.
- Put yourself in their shoes.It is very easy for managers to lose perspective about what decisions their staff can make on their own. Managers should ask themselves, what decisions would I need to make if I were doing that job?
- Minimize the risk of things going wrong.Have them talk through their plans and get them to think of the possible consequences before they move forward. Also, schedule regular updates so you can see the progress and catch possible problems before they become full blown crises.
What’s been your experience with micro-management? Are there additional strategies you can suggest for leaders who want to manage less and get more success? Comments are welcome. Let’s start a conversation!
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