Why get a dog and bark yourself?

My client, the owner of a successful SME, hired me to find out why staff engagement and productivity had fallen.  He wanted me to find out what was up with his staff as he didn’t have the time or energy to deal with people’s issues.

It turned out he had hired a pack of dogs to protect his “turf”, and yet he continued and insisted on doing all the barking himself. 

It turned out my client had a hazardous habit that was potentially destroying the very company he had built from the ground up. 

His habit wasn’t of the drug-related kind; it was of the lack of emotional intelligence kind.  He had a self-destructive pattern of micromanaging, and if you think what’s the big deal, it’s not a severe problem, I invite you to keep reading.

He couldn’t trust his team to do their job and nothing kills creativity, productivity, and growth, like micromanaging your team.  Lack of productivity is hurting seven out of 10 Australian businesses, and it was certainly starting to hurt my client’s business. 

Delegation is a great signifier, too, as most micromanagers find it difficult to delegate tasks that they have always done.

They start out doing the things they’re good at, but when the company grows, they have to bite the bullet and delegate that work, even if they loved doing it. They have to have trust in the people they hired.

I pointed out to him that if he continues to micromanage, his employees’ skills, talents, and insights will fall to the wayside, leaving him with a team that only knows how to do what it’s told. He must allow his team the freedom to think and act on their own. That is what he is paying them for and what the business needs. 

Micromanagers take perfectly positive attributes – attention to detail and a hands-on attitude – to the extreme. 

Signs you may be a micromanager:

1. You ask to be on every email or watch every task.  

You are inviting yourself in to be over-involved in the details. Unless action is required by you, there is no need for you to be cc’d on an email.

2. You talk the most at every meeting. If your meetings lack updates and insights from other team members, then you’re not meeting, you are lecturing. 

3. Do you find it challenging to let your employees work independently, and you are continually critiquing their work.?

If you identify with any of the above traits then take this as an opportunity to delve further into learning why you manage this way.  You are probably like this in your personal life too, which is not always fun for the people around you. 

Micromanaging is an ultimately self-defeating strategy. But personal growth is an approach that not only spares your employees from the pain of micromanaging, and it also makes the leader more expert and more powerful.

Remember you are the leader of the pack and you don’t need to be doing all the barking.

Jo Hodges, Founder and Director, Extraordinary Executive

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