Stop over-managing and end the misery.

Image result for planting seeds“After you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t dig it up every week to see how it’s doing.” – William Coyne, former VP at 3M.

Attention all of you micromanagers, think about this quote. Think how silly it would be to do this, yet you do this with people every day.

What is it you don’t trust? What is it that makes you feel you know better than them? What is it that compels you to put your nose in everything? Do you realize the damage you are doing?

You are creating a culture of dread. Your team members most likely hate coming to work because they know they are not trusted or valued for their abilities, ideas, or thinking. They are being made fully aware that they are not as good as you, they are second-class citizens. They are afraid to try anything because it will be met with some reason it could be better. Simply put, they are or have already become drones who feel shut down and powerless.

Here are some steps to help you change it and make this year the year where you remove the misery.

  1. Take time to listen, really listen. Shut down that urge to constantly share what you think and just hear people out. Don’t interrupt, and really pay attention without distraction.
  2. Allow people to try things and offer suggestions sparingly by using AND instead of BUT. Here’s why. When you say, “this looks good BUT do this and it will be better” it screams that your suggestion is superior and that their idea is just not good enough. However, you can change it this way, “this looks good AND adding this might help, what do you think?” Do you see the difference? Using AND makes it a polite offer and by asking what they think, you empower them to make a choice and have input. You turn an order into a collaboration.
  3. Praise every good effort and seek out ideas. Let your team know they are valuable and that you trust them. Even if some ideas may not be the absolute best, as long as they don’t hurt anything, let it go and let them grow.
  4. Give feedback through questions rather than blunt statements. By asking your team what they think could be better, you are training them to self-diagnose problems and come up with solutions. Isn’t this what you want or do you want to be forced to be the hall monitor for the rest of your life?

Micromanagement or over-management is a scourge in our workplaces. It can turn work into misery and each day another day to look for a better job. If you want to keep those talented people you hired, start listening, asking more and telling less, and showing them how valuable they really are. And if you think those people aren’t good enough, why did you hire them? Maybe you’re the one that needs to be micromanaged.

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