This is Thanksgiving week in the United States. It’s a time to give thanks to your coworkers, your employees, your customers, and vendors. And especially to give thanks to your family and to yourself.
We often focus on what needs to be done, what must be corrected or improved. It keeps us focused and moving ahead. But the most powerful source of motivation (and satisfaction,) is regularly stopping to be thankful for what we have.
Whether you are in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, or overseas, take the time to have a good Thanksgiving, and a grateful thank you to all of you who are my clients and my friends.
In the news last week were Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, and other former members of the Obama cabinet decrying the micromanagement that has characterized the administration’s style. A micromanagement style is a clear sign that a manager hasn’t matured and is not able to operate at a higher level because their own management development has been truncated to a point that it is damaging to the organization. With a micromanager, direct reports become risk-averse and tentative in both their decision-making and in actions. People don’t feel valued and they recognize that their own development has stopped. It is a key reason why high potential subordinates will leave.
So while a micromanaging style may be important to getting a business off the ground, as the business grows the micromanaging style gets in the way of growing the business and the talent needed for growth.
Earlier, I wrote that the first step a micromanager must take is to realize that a change is necessary and to develop the resolve to make a change. That change is not easy and it won’t happen overnight, but it can be successful over several months particularly with good coaching.
For specifics, see my next newsletter, or contact me at email@example.com.
Excellent companies–those who excel for the long-term–are good at both the analytics of costs and efficiencies, and in improving their organization’s ability to learn, innovate, and adapt to change. The two are not cut from the same cloth. They require different skills and contrasting perspectives. I find it is often very difficult to talk with a leader about one if they are invested heavily in the other. Yet both are needed to grow an organization successfully. Which one reflects your key strengths? What are you doing to improve your competence in the other?
Growing a business is not easy. The challenge is particularly acute for entrepreneurs who successfully launch a business, but soon find that the leadership style that got the business to a certain level of success, soon gets in the way of continuing business success. They hit a ‘success trap,’ where the bottleneck at the top causes delays to decisions and actions. Letting go of a micromanagement style can be very difficult for a lot of reasons: It’s got you to where you are, you enjoy being involved in all the details, the organization is not ready for a different way of managing, you’re concerned about the impact on sales and customer service if you change your leadership style, etc.
With the leaders I’ve coached through this transition, the most important factors are the realization that a change is needed, and the resolve to see the change through. All the other factors such as developing the organization, adapting management processes, and streamlining decision making, are important, but are secondary.
If you want to change your leadership style, to shift from micromanagement to a more effective leadership style, you have to first build your resolve to see it through.