Micromanagement and Other Leadership Behaviors to Let Go of Now

BY C. Lee Smith
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You’ve finally made it into the leadership position you’ve always wanted. It should be smooth sailing from now on, right? But what if you possess annoying leadership behaviors such as a tendency for micromanagement.

Micromanagement and Other Leadership Behaviors to Let Go of Now

Every leader wants to believe that they bring the right set of behaviors into the workplace. They want to inspire their teams to commit to the corporate mission and do their best work. Great leaders can do all that, but there is always room for improvement.

Sometimes, their learned workplace behavior no longer fits with employee expectations. If leaders can fix these behaviors, they’ll also be able to motivate their team members.

Micromanagement falls into the bad workplace behavior category. How do you know if you have a tendency to micromanage? Check for the following two types of behavior.

  • You are constantly looking over your employees’ shoulders to make sure they do what you want when you want.
  • You take on work you fear they won’t finish.

These tendencies usually stem from not trusting your employees. If you suffer from this problem, you can fix it by taking small steps. Start giving your team members tasks they can quickly and easily complete.

Once the work product is done, refrain from putting your mark on it. Let them have ownership of what they’ve accomplished. They will feel better about their work and over time, you will learn to trust them.

Failing to Listen

Some leaders believe they have made it into their position by always having the right answers. In previous eras, that attitude may have served them well. These leaders were often well educated in comparison to their workforce.

The knowledge-​based economy requires a new form of managing. Your team members are likely to be as well educated as your corporate leaders. The pace of change in today’s economy makes it challenging for leaders to track exactly what’s happening in the marketplace.

These circumstances require leaders to gather up-​to-​date information from trusted team members. Listening to employees who understand the nuances of decision-​making by the target audience for a product makes a huge difference.

Failing to listen, in addition to practicing micromanagement, will result in a lack of commitment and loyalty from team members. These negative workplace behaviors may also drive down revenue.

The Vision-​Strategy Imbalance

Some of our most valuable and revolutionary businesses would not have been possible with the amazing vision of leaders. One specific example is Steve Jobs. We have Mr. Jobs to thank for some of our favorite products. But, as a manager, Jobs often confused and frustrated employees with his impulsive behavior.

It’s no secret that some leaders may be strong as visionaries, while others are strategy wizards. To learn about your specific strengths, review the results of your psychometric assessments. Analyzing your weaknesses and the behaviors you want to improve should be a deliberative process.

Whether you work with a coach or map your own course, there is another important decision to make. You must decide how you want to balance the need for vision and strategy for your business. Be honest in your assessment about your behavior. This may be challenging as most leaders are accustomed to focusing on team member behavior instead of their own.

You may lack the kind of mind required to carry out the strategy needed to succeed. If so, appoint one of your staffers to take that role. 

On the other hand, you may struggle to generate ideas that will drive the development of successful marketplace solutions. In this situation, it makes sense to create an ideation team. Doing so will build the confidence of your team members.

In their Harvard Business Review article, Jennifer Jordan, Michael Wade and Elizabeth Teracino address the behaviors that leaders must relinquish. Traditional business leaders relied on micromanagement and commitment to an established strategy to succeed. Those practices don't help the modern company thrive.

You also need dedicated employees who can work as a team to help the business succeed. Adjusting your poor managerial workplace behavior, such as micromanagement, is a step in the right direction. Maintain focus on what you want to change and regularly assess your progress to stay on track.

Photo by Yan Krukau on Pexels.