Are you a micromanager?
The thing is, most of us micromanage something. We might not think we do, but we do.
- A report due to a client.
- Drive time playlists.
- People. (ouch)
We know the impact of this.
We are great at what we do, right all the time, and we work fast.
And at what cost?
Micromanaging anything is not pretty…nor helpful, empowering, or productive.
If this resonates with you like it does so many, here’s what may be true about you:
You’re highly driven, prioritize excellence, and like to have a sense of control. You have a high work ethic and love to see a job done.
You are not creating the impact you wish and feel anxious about the load you are carrying. You have trouble delegating, letting others own what you’ve delegated, and are lacking the results you are working so hard for.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
Micromanagement is an issue many leaders struggle with, and it’s something we don’t see well in the mirror.
And because micromanagement can result in a lot of completed work, it can be overlooked or praised, which feeds the cycle.
It’s also the source of a lot of our problems if not kept in check. It can keep us anxious, overwhelmed, and overworked. And it kills the very things we want to create in ourselves and the people around us.
What drives micromanagement?
Leaders today are wrestling with an unprecedented level of stress. One common theme in work-related stress is the inability to control outcomes, which is often a symptom of a lack of influence.
Lack of influence can be minimizing the effectiveness of your leadership in countless ways.
One of the best ways to gain influence with your team is by being a leader who coaches, not controls.
In a coaching culture, leaders help team members discover and tap into their own brilliance by asking powerful questions and challenging them to come up with their own solutions, breaking the cycle of micromanagement. This empowerment leads to more collaboration, more margin, and fewer crises and errors.
When in control mode, our vision narrows and we lose awareness, leading to lackluster decision-making and impact.
A “coach approach” will encourage a response that will inspire the culture and the team, so while we can’t control all outcomes, we can control our response and create stronger influence.
How do we make this change in how we lead?
Here are four ways you can create more influence and release micromanagement:
- Let go of being right. We know it hurts because of our strong need to be the knower, but being right isn’t the goal. Likely, your “right” is just a preference for you. Replace this posture with one of genuine curiosity and watch things shift.
- Ask more questions than you answer. In other words, become the learner not the knower. Curiosity means asking questions that begin with “what” and “how” and then tuning in. Listen. You will learn so much from others through this. And they in turn feel heard and important. Bonus – you’ll usually walk away a smarter person.
- 30-second praise. This one is a slam-dunk for everyone. There is a stigma with being called into someone’s office – you have the power to change that! Each day, call someone in and offer 30 seconds of praise for something they did well. Words have weight – use them to make your people better.
- Share lessons learned. A powerful way to influence others is through humility. Transparency is hard, but it’s SO compelling. Sharing some of your own lessons lets others see a different side of you, gives them permission to make mistakes/take risks, and also exemplifies accountability in sharing that with others. There is a win in here for you, too, as you don’t feel the pressure to have to do it well all the time.
Bottom line…micromanagement is a fool’s bargain.
At twice the work, it always falls short on its promises of better quality, effectiveness, and productivity. Instead it leaves you with the opposite – exhaustion and too little to show for your work.
Ready to do something about it?
If you’re still reading, you must be, so here’s a challenge.
Pick two of the above, then practice and journal about the results. What changes did you see in yourself or others? Tell someone about it – a confidante at work, or send us an email!
We’re with you!