Leadership for Life – Micromanagement

By on June 3, 2013
Leadership for Life - Micromanagement

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

Great leaders nearly always have a clear vision of where they want their organization to go and what they want to accomplish. One of the key elements of exercising great leadership skills is being able to get others to share the vision and bring it about.

It’s likely that great leaders will surround themselves with people of great talent, who have the ability and drive to carry out the organization’s mission and achieve the leader’s vision. On the other hand, there are many external influences on people and organizations that can interfere with achieving the vision or handicap even talented people, thus preventing maximum success.

When things go wrong, it’s tempting to tell people what to do and how to do it. Great leaders know that’s usually the wrong thing to do. When you give people specific instructions and orders about how to do their jobs, you’ll likely get obedience (you sign the paychecks), but you’re unlikely to get creativity and inspiration.

Talented people are driven to use their talents. When they are constrained to do it your way, they have to put their own talent on hold, and that just gets in everyone’s way. The key to working with talented people is to allow them to exercise their talents – not necessarily completely unfettered, but with a minimum of guidelines within which they can allow their talents to bring about desired outcomes.

There’s a big difference between “Get out there and sell more stuff,” and “How can we improve our revenue stream?” By stating the concern as a problem to be solved, rather than an order to succeed, you get the benefit of your employee’s creativity, imagination, and commitment. If you want your business to succeed, you have to let your employees do what they do best, and do it their way. You have to trust their judgment and provide opportunities for them to succeed, even if you would have done it differently. Smart, talented people will say, “Tell me what outcome you want, and then let me do what’s necessary to bring it about.” If those are the kinds of people you have, then micromanaging them will only create disaffection and poor results.

Someone once said, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Sometimes you need to do all three at once. Want to quibble? Write to me at bschapiro@stlcc.edu.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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