Micromanagement – yes, but in the right way. 5 basic rules for successful leadership in small steps.
To lead or not to lead – that is the question
“The project ended in disaster! Now I’m working on improving the mistakes made in the last months and getting the motivation of those involved back on track. I don’t understand what the problem was because we hired the best minds and the start was extremely encouraging. I didn’t want to get too involved so I delegated until it became clear that the results didn’t add up.ˮ
When I hear statements like that, I realize immediately that I need to roll up my own coaching sleeves and launch a search together with my client. In coaching I call this “detective workˮ – it’s not about looking for errors but rather about gaining clarity. After just a few minutes, it began to dawn on us and my client’s eyes started to shine, “Now I know what the problem was – I’d made several mistakes.ˮ
Leading without making mistakes just doesn’t work.
The manager recognized some gaps in her leadership style in her “confession”:
• The best minds – yes, but with a catch, they’re not the best qualified for THIS project.
• The project manager was out of his depth.
• The mandate – including the timeframe – was unclear so that the team members were not “on the same pageˮ.
• The leadership style itself was inconsistent, initially laissez-faire, later micromanagement.
My client had the best of intentions. She didn’t want to micromanage or control and interfere too much. She simply wanted her team to do the project work well but she and her team failed.
Micromanagement and trust – are they compatible?
In our leadership coaching she realized that micromanagement was just right for this project. Even though this kind of leadership doesn’t have the best reputation, it can be appropriate in certain situations. She was greatly relieved by this realization and by my update on situational leadership.
She asked herself:
“How can I micromanage while getting my staff to embrace the idea of the project?ˮ
“How can I exercise control with a clear conscience without conveying the feeling that I don’t trust my staff?ˮ
“How can I balance trust and control in my leadership style?ˮ
“How can I deal with my insecurity as a leader?ˮ
“Can I change my leadership style while retaining my credibility?ˮ
5 basic rules for successful micromanagement
1) Create clarity for yourself as a leader
What needs to be clear: your role, the problems and tasks, the distribution of tasks, the criteria for success. Before starting the project consider whether you have the right people for the job – not the best people but the right ones. Here you can read about the personal qualities of good managers in times of crisis.
2) Create clarity for your team
What needs to be clear to your team: The role and tasks of each individual, the criteria for success, the deadlines, and the consequences of failure to complete the tasks agreed. Read about structure in leadership in my article Leadership knows no shutdown: How to lead remote teams efficiently.
3) Keep it short and to the poin
Micromanagement really eats up time and energy for you as a leader. Continual interference on your part can be disruptive for your team. That’s why it’s good to use this type of leadership only for specific tasks and for a limited period of time, preferably for a maximum of 3 months.
4) Lead with transparency and fairness
Communicate openly with your team about this. Why did you choose this leadership style? Attitude and social competence are and will remain the hallmarks of successful leadership and are needed now more than ever.
5) Take responsibility
Whoever is in charge is responsible for his/her decisions and, for the most part, for the outcome. Micromanaging while blaming others for any failures will damage your position as a leader – and you don’t want that, do you?
Here you can find some ideas about control and trust in leadership and how you can reconcile them with your leadership style while staying in the flow with your team.
In just 10 intensive coaching & individual training sessions:
• Let’s unearth your treasures,
• activate your leadership DNA and
• let’s make you shine as a leader – with everything that is part of you!
Your Raluca Ionescu