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How micromanagers are killing your business...

Find your micromanagers. Limit their potential INSIDE your organisation, or they will limit the potential OF your organisation.

What’s the problem? A micromanager is usually motivated, energetic and often technically brilliant. Sure, they do have a habit of getting involved in EVERYTHING and their teams don’t seem to like working for them, but as long as they keep hitting those performance goals…everything’s OK right?


Three reasons micromanagers will kill your business:

1. They stop leadership development. If your business is expanding rapidly, this is especially lethal. As a business owner, you MUST develop your new recruits into leaders as in the future, they need to lead their own teams, and translate your values into behaviour. Micromanagers give their teams NO opportunity to lead.

2. They directly increase your staff turnover costs. Working for a micromanager is awful…I’ve done it! The constant monitoring and lack of autonomy saps every bit of motivation we once had for our job. Only the most unmotivated and unambitious staff member will accept being constantly directed through their core work…and do you really want that person in your organisation anyway? The talented individuals you DO want to keep will simply leave and go somewhere they feel challenged by the responsibility they are given.

3. When they aren’t around, they whole place falls apart. Because a micromanager has either been doing the work themselves or directing others through it, when they AREN’T there, it’s a nightmare. Decisions won’t be made, critical information isn’t available, and basically no one else in the team seems to know the ‘big picture’. The following statement may seem paradoxical, but it's true; "one of the hallmarks of a quality leader is that their organisation will temporarily run quite well without them".

Airline flying has offered me thousands of opportunities to observe group behaviour; all of the same limitations and constraints of the human psyche which impact your organisation are present in an airline crew. So how does micromanagement play out on the flight deck of an Airbus A350?

If I am a micromanager, I will want the flight management computers set up EXACTLY how I like them, and will program them myself. I will discuss issues with engineers, cabin crew and dispatch personnel, but won’t share the information with my fellow pilots. I will direct tasks and set timelines, but will want almost constant feedback on progress. My crew will do their job, but will feel disempowered and that I don’t trust them. If I have to leave the flight deck for some reason, my crew will not make decisions in my absence. They will wait. Efficiency will suffer. We may be delayed. My crew won’t learn during the flight. They won’t have been challenged, and will not get the responsibility they crave. They would prefer not to fly with me again.

If I am a quality leader, I will know that my primary job is to build and sustain an exceptional environment ; one where I get the best from my team. I will set an overall aim, share all relevant information, and empower my crew to make decisions in my absence. I will accept that my team won’t do things exactly as I would. I will know that by delegating, the cumulative benefit on the individual, the team and the task will outweigh the personal gain I may see from doing things my way. I will retain overall responsibility for EVERYTHING, but will create an environment where I can push control and decision making down the ‘chain’ as far as possible. My team will feel challenged, and empowered. They will be busier than with the ‘micromanager me’, but they will love it. They want responsibility, and I have given it to them.

How do you stop micromanagers from destroying YOUR organisation?

Reward behaviour, not results. Behaviour is everything. It's not enough to know your KPIs have been achieved; you must find out WHY! Debrief, analyse and investigate; only then will you find that the micromanagers have been doing all the work (and will shortly kill your expansion).

Values translate into behaviour through a strong and aligned culture, and if you don’t deal with the micromanagers in your organisation, all the culture building is for nothing.

Find your micromanagers. Limit their potential INSIDE your organisation, or they will limit the potential OF your organisation.

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