Do Your People Feel Handcuffed?

Business Edge-smart growth strategies-marciaIf 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 handcuffspart 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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

Smart Moves Tip

Control and micro-managing kills the spirit of competent and committed people. Morale goes down, people get disengaged and mediocrity sets in. Instead, allow others to find their own way while you’re there to offer support when asked or needed. An emotionally intelligent leader has the self-confidence and impulse control to allow his or her people to grow and develop their own strengths and talents.

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! 

My Motto Is:
“If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. Therefore, MOVE outside of your comfort zone; that’s where the MAGIC happens.” To bring that magic to your leadership and business, subscribe to Marcia’s monthly Execubrief: “Business Edge – Smart Growth Strategies” with a insights, inspiration and intelligence on how to build great businesses that matter – those that do well and do good.

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Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidle, The Smart Moves Coach, is a national known board certified coach and keynote leadership speaker who guides organizations that are planning, or in the midst of, ambitious growth and change. As a career strategist, she works with professionals, managers and executives who want to build • shape • brand • change • vitalize their careers. She’s been selected by LinkedIn’s ProFinder as one of the best coaches for 2016!Her clients range from private owned businesses to mid-market companies to professional service firms to NGO’s. With 25 years of management, business consulting and international experience, she brings an expertise in executive and team leadership; employee engagement and innovation; personal and organization change; career building and development; emotional and social intelligence. Your Future Starts Now With Marcia!

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