Are You Coaching or Micromanaging?

Nobody said it was easy being the boss. As a manager, you know the buck stops with you. That may be why you’re tempted to oversee every little work effort your employees engage in. If you’re not looking over their shoulders, you might be scheduling meetings to review policies and procedures and make sure they’re toeing the line. Big mistake, cautions Michael Abrashoff.

When people agree to work for you, they envision they’ll get to play a role in the future of the organization they’re joining. Sure, they might imagine that you’ll provide coaching and opportunities for advancement. But, on a day-​to-​day basis, they’re looking for ownership of the job they were hired to do.  After they spend some time in the trenches, the most motivated of these employees will come to you with suggestions about how to improve the process they’re engaged in. This type of energy can work in your favor. Younger employees in particular, want to be part of a cool place to work and will generate the right kind of vibe.

You have to be careful not to demoralize your staff. If your organization emphasizes a relaxed participatory culture,  your employees expect that you’ll listen to their ideas. They also expect you to let them do their jobs without interference. This means you need to step back. For example, if your employee starts calling a specific account in the afternoon to pitch new products instead of always calling in the morning like you did, check on the results first. Maybe something has changed at the account and your employee has figured this out on her own. Instead of telling her how you always handled the account, commend her for taking initiative, doing a good job and making a positive difference to the bottom line.

Most people who hear praise will continue to exhibit the kind of work habits and behavior that won them positive attention. Those positive attitudes tend to expand throughout an organization. And, that’s the kind of work culture you want to develop a reputation for because it allows you to attract even better employees.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.