Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared some simple (but not simplistic) principles every manager needs to know. As a review, here are the first four:
1. Quit focusing on the outward appearance and concentrate on what’s on the inside.
2. Be a good listener.
3. Put Yourself in Your Employees’ Shoes
4. Be humble – nobody is good enough to be arrogant!
Each term when I begin the Intro to Management course I teach at a local university, I’ll ask my students to share stories about the worst manager they ever worked for. It never ceases to amaze me what kinds of behaviors they describe. Dilbert has nothing on these folks’ experiences. I do however see one specific behavior that pops up in every discussion: micromanagement.
I’m not even sure if this term is a real word or not but it might as well be. It’s a noun, a verb, and in some ways perhaps an expletive. I guess it means a manager who needs to double and triple check their subordinate’s process each step of the way. In other words, they can’t fully trust them to complete a task without having their stamp of approval at regular intervals.
Now before we beat these folks up, I guess we should attempt to discover why this happens. It could be they were burned in the past – after all, you can delegate authority, but never responsibility. It could be a part of their personality. Maybe they were mentored by a micromanager. But at some point, I think we need to examine the reason and break the cycle.
Did you know most employees are good workers who would probably forego a pay raise for just a little autonomy? All of us need to feel some sense of control. We’re all born with some natural skills and abilities and if we’re given a chance to use them to the best of OUR abilities, we’ll probably be able to grow. I’m convinced that there is really no such thing as a bad employee. If someone is not measuring up performance-wise, it might just be a bad fit with their skills. The answer is to MOVE THEM! Allow them to work within their skills sets (if possible) and then take your hands off and see how they perform. The best employees will only get better if you take this approach.So this week, think about what you can do to unleash the skills of your employees. Keep an eye on them of course, but give them a chance and you might be surprised how well they’ll do.