Micro-Management and Delegation
Recently I had a long discussion with a friend of mine about Managers and managing. She is a former HR Manager for several major companies and was bemoaning the fact that training for managers has been cut back so significantly in recent years and that managers no longer receive the type of help, guidance and assistance that they received just a few short years ago. My background has been in retail and telecom. Hers was neither. Yet the same problems and issues seem to rise in every industry. Of course, this is exactly the reason that I got into coaching. Coaching allows those managers who want to improve a very personalized venue to do just that.
We went on to agree that the common pattern these days seemed to be for the department star performer to be promoted from contributor, to team leader, to manager in seemingly record time. We agreed that new managers have difficulty moving from the contributor to the manager role because no one is willing to spend the time and energy to coach them through the various hurdles that new managers and leaders face. We agreed that this lack of training never seemed to lower the expectations of the manager, just the performance.
Then we disagreed, strongly. What caused the disagreement? The
concept was micro-management. My friend explained to me that she has “coached" many employees recently and that many of them complained about one particular manager who was micro-managing them. She told me that she helps the employees understand and come to grips with “their problem". “You're not going to be able to change that manager, she explained to me, “so you've got to change the employees". She explains to them that if they are being micro-managed, there's probably a reason for it. They are probably doing something wrong. If they just identify that problem and improve, their manager will stop the micro-management. “The employees need to improve themselves. It's as simple as that. "
I wish my life was as simple as that.
She acknowledges that with that many employees complaining that
it's likely the manager is the problem. But changing the manager is too much trouble, she says, so let's tell the employees it's their fault.
While it is true that it is sometimes necessary to micro-manage
people, her explanation makes little sense to me. You might micro-manage an employee if their performance is lacking. Or because the project they are working on is very high visibility and any chance of error must be minimized. But when a number of employees are complaining about the same manager micro-managing them it implies one of two things.
Either this manager:
1. Has a lot of problem employees and needs to start weeding them out, or
2. This manager does not know how to let go and properly
delegate to their staff.
Excessive micro-management is not the sign of a healthy manager.
When someone is constantly micro-managing their staff it's generally their problem, not the employees.
If you are micro-managing your staff, refusing to delegate routine, and not so routine tasks to them for completion, then you are setting yourself up for trouble. Have you ever heard yourself say, “I would delegate this to someone else, but it's just as easy to do it myself"? Or maybe you say, “This task is too complicated to delegate. I have to make sure it's done right. "
If so, I hope you like your job. Because you aren't going anyplace higher. Delegation can be difficult to learn because it looks like a huge risk and a huge leap of faith. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are techniques that you can learn that will help you delegate and get you out of the detail. And you have to get out of the detail if you really want to be an executive.
David Meyer, owner of Coaching for Tomorrow, has more than 25 years of management and leadership experience, having worked for companies such as Nobil Shoes, McDonough, Allied Stores, MCI and Nextel Communications. His mantra, “You Win With People" is based on the deep-seated belief that hiring, developing, and promoting the right people can lead to organizational and financial success. As a management and leadership coach, David works to instill that same passion in his clients by helping them understand the importance of strong leadership, strong teamwork, and strong players.
David has a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Elmhurst College and has been certified by both ACTION International as a Business Coach and the Coach Training Alliance. He also has received his CTM from Toastmasters. He is an Officer in the Denver Coach Federation and a facilitator/trainer for the Coach Training Alliance and ACTION International of Colorado. He is also a co-author of the book Creating Workplace Community: Motivation.
Married with two adult daughters, David is active in his local Kiwanis club and Crossroads Community Church. He enjoys reading, golf, scuba diving, and Civil War reenacting.www.coachingfortomorrow.com