Have you ever seen a musical conductor put his baton down, climb into the orchestra pit and go and chat with the violinist about how they should hold their bow, or talk with those in the woodwind section about how they need to use circular breathing techniques?
As far as I can tell that’s not something that great conductors do.
A great conductor knows that their role is to create musical harmony by indicating, with gestures, who plays what, when and how.
Harmony And Productivity
Great leaders, leaders who maximise their team members’ discretionery effort and productivity, also create harmony when they align the team’s vision and values.
Let’s look more closely at the alignment between great conductors and great leaders…
- Just like conductors interpret the music beyond the notes—great leaders hold a strategic view of the game plan.
- Just like conductors plan their orchestra’s repertoire—great leaders work with their team members to plan and agree goals and KPIs.
- Just like conductors have their muscians collaborating and coordinating—great leaders have their team members leveraging off one another and working together.
- Just like conductors guide musicians to play their instruments magnificently—great leaders guide their team members to maximise their impact and surpass their targets.
Here’s The Cruncher…
Just like how great conductors support their musicians from their podium which is outside the orchestra pit—great leaders don’t climb into the “orchestra pit” and deep-dive into projects they’ve delegated.
They allow their team members to successfully do their jobs by effectively delegating, agreeing the check-points and stepping away.
I know, I know . You’re under pressure to produce. And when you’re feeling pressured micromanaging can become irrestible. Deep-diving is often way too tempting when you’re concerned about how the targets are going to be met.
But let’s have real clarity about this: The costs of micromanaging are huge!
What’s So Bad About Deep-Diving Into Projects?
Just like how micromanaging doesn’t work for conductors or their musicians, it doesn’t work for leaders or their team members either!
When your team members know that you’re going to step-in, it’s highly likely that they’ll do some or all of the following:
- Switch off their brain and stop having initiatives.
- Loose confidence in their abilities and capacity to do a good job.
- Experience diminished motivation and will to succeed.
- Not do more than they have to do, i.e. show little discretionery effort.
- Negatively impact the motivation and discretionary effort of those they interact with.
- Have stunted learning and development and therefore curtail their career.
- Leave in search of a leader who’ll let them take responsibility and be accountable for their work.
We could continue but I think the point is made. Micromanaging has a serious negative impact on how successfully you lead your team and on the results that they create!
What Drives A Micromanaging Habit?
If you’ve had a tendency to micromanage, I recommend that, first up, you figure out what’s been stopping you from letting go and letting your team members do their jobs…
Do you frequently drop by a team member’s desk, or email or ring them, to check on where they’re up to because:
- Your natural tendency is to dig into the details, and/or
- You don’t believe your team members are capable, and/or
- You haven’t learned to trust that other people can do stuff, and/or
- You have an out-of-control need to control what’s going on?
Your Leadership Call to Action
What can you do to develop new habits that mean you’re able to do your job and let your team members do theirs?
- Become a superb delegator who:
o Delegates the objective—not the procedure.
o Agrees the success criteria for the project.
o Jointly decides the checkpoints.
o Leaves their team member to get on with it
- Mentor, coach, counsel and/or develop a team member who hasn’t yet developed the competencies to do their job proficiently.
- If you need to, performance manage them so that something changes. Please don’t ignore a performance problem because of your inclincation to avoid having a difficult conversation. If someone’s not doing their job well enough, deal with it.
- Avoid deep-diving into that orchestra pit at all costs. Think “great conductor”!
Please keep emailing your comments and your requests to talk about your particular circumstances.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.