Death by Micromanagement

In Board Development, Evaluations by Geoff BurnsLeave a Comment

When it comes to achieving results, management is needed. Goals need managed. Resources need managed. Programs need managed. People need managed. (See the trend here?) The reality is that everything needs some sort of management. Entropy is the natural increase in disorder in a system. Management is the process by which we try to limit or mitigate the disorder into something tangible and useful. Unfortunately, far too often in order to address this phenomenon of entropy, well intentioned managers step into the realm of micromanagement.

In this strange world, managers begin to believe that their constant involvement is useful and even beneficial to the team. However, too many reports, too many meetings, too much oversight is demeaning to employees and volunteers alike. Managers who utilize micromanagement as a tool typically have failed to properly train their teams, or lack confidence in their team (which may be due to lack of training). Either way, managers can kill productivity, morale and quality through micromanagement.

If you find yourself micromanaging your team, ask yourself why? Seek out the underlying reason that you feel the need to provide so much oversight. If you are unsure if you are micromanaging, ask your team, but only if there is a culture of honest feedback. Remember, subordinates may fear that their answer may impact their employment, so be cognizant of the implications of this approach. Think about empowerment of the team. Success will increase as a result of helping people to flourish.

The ability to empower others is one of the keys to personal and professional success. John Craig said, “No matter how much work you can do, no matter how engaging your personality may be, you will not advance far in business if you cannot work through others.”

When you become an empowerer, you certainly work with and through people, but you also do much more. Simply defined, empowering is giving your influence to others for the purpose of personal and organizational growth. It’s seeing others’ potential, then sharing yourself-your influence, position, power, and opportunities-with others with the purpose of investing in the lives of others so that they can function at their best.

The act of empowering others changes lives, and one of the greatest things about it is that it’s a win-win for you and the people you empower. If you empower others by giving them your authority, it has the same effect as sharing information. You haven’t lost anything. You’ve increased the ability of others without decreasing yourself.

Excerpt from Becoming a Person of Influence

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