Was there even a momentary pause in your mind as you read this question?

Then, this blog is a must-read for you.

Through my one-on-one coaching relations, I know better than most executives never set out to harm their organization’s success. Rather, they intend and believe they are adding value to their company and the development of their staff.

Micromanagers believe they know best how the workload should be handled, rarely recognizing that there are many ways to accomplish the job. Thus, they keep a tight rein on everything, including minutia.

Without question…. a micromanagement approach negatively impacts productivity and profitability. This style generally creates frustration and stresses workers, causing disengagement and burnout.

Since this attitude is injurious to careers and the organization, let’s examine the chain reaction occurring when micromanagement exists.

If you’re still wondering whether you’re a micromanager, ask yourself this “test the environment” question: How comfortable are your employees at bringing up problematic issues with you?

In my experience, employees aren’t willing to work alongside a boss with adverse command-and-control issues.

More often than not, such a concern is the root cause of employees choosing to withhold information. They know the matter will be blown out of proportion if they give their boss a preemptive, heads-up. The potential fallout from sharing makes the employee feel like they are working within a target zone of blame.

Typically, a micromanager’s response will be bigger, uglier, and more devastating than appropriate.

In response to problems, micromanagers often dump hours and hours of unnecessary, non-productive, “cover your bottom” work.

If you’re required to bring up a concern to someone, with this mindset, you’re going to hold off communicating “bad news” as long as possible. Withholding information is damaging to both the micromanager and the company.

If you’re a manager and want to get more information rather than less, here are a few powerful ways to open the door for a free flow of information:

  • Self-Awareness: Change begins with you. That means it’s up to you to recognize you’re a micromanager to overcome these tendencies. And it’s more complicated than it sounds. The sad fact is, according to Tasha Eurich, only 10 to 15 percent of executives actually exhibit self-awareness.
    • Quiet your mind to reflect and examine with an eye toward your staff. Are they expanding? Are they excited contributors? Are they offering innovative solutions?
    • Secure trusted truth-telling advisors who celebrate your wins and offer corrective advice.
    • Candidly identify your knee-jerk reactions. Do they represent your highest self as a leader? If they don’t, start scenario-building in your mind how you choose to respond in the future. Keep in mind what research demonstrates…. When you vividly imagine situations, your brain stores them as reality, which has you slowly but surely reframing your leadership attitude.
  •  Inspire Trust: Trust isn’t necessary if you simply want to exert hierarchical authority. However, trust is essential if you want more out of your career and your staff. 

It isn’t rocket science. Take into consideration:

    • It takes time to build and is easily damaged.
    • Be clear about your expectations and demonstrate confidence in your staff’s competency to follow through on the issues. Remember, trust is reciprocal.
    • Provide opportunities to talk with your staff and for them to speak candidly with you. Achieving this result means listening with the ear of an explorer looking for gold. You, the leader, must consciously ask open-ended questions where you’re looking for what is reasonable and right in the idea—not as an attorney barking questions to back a person and the idea into the corner of wrongness.
    • Acknowledge good work. It’s even better when you catch your employees taking valued action.
  • Foster Open Dialogue: In today’s marketplace, executives have more to do with an appreciative communicative environment in their corporation than almost any other factor. Present-day interaction challenges are far beyond what was experienced in years past. It requires steadfast, conscious action.
    • See sharing information—good or bad—timely as a responsibility, not a burden.
    • Encourage challenging dialogue around controversial issues and problem resolutions, then respect your staff’s expertise.
    • Don’t “shoot the messenger” when bad news is brought to you…. And that includes making sure the solution doesn’t “kill the messenger” by overloading them with more work.

Change doesn’t take place overnight. If you suspect you have even a smidgeon of the micromanager in your management style or you see signs that your staff is withholding information, minor, consistent behavior adaptations begin the process of building open-ended pathways to trust.

Because if you don’t, you will face high turnover with a continuous cycle of employees eager to find another boss where they can shine.

Start today… it is that important to your people, your company, and the success of your career.


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