The deadline is looming and people are feeling the pressure. You know how you need the report written, or the meeting run, or how to win the game. So do you default to doing it yourself or micro-managing every step that other people take? Well, if you ever want to be an effective leader, neither!
In the usual ladder of promotion that people climb they start with the 'doing' then move up to 'managing the doing'. Things begin to become blurry even at this first step because you know how to do the task, and so you know how the task 'should' be done, which of course presupposes there is only one way to do it right, right? The blurring occurs when managing the doing also involves managing the people, doing the doing. For many new managers the first mistake is believing that managing the task and managing the people are one in the same thing. As I'm sure you already know you manage tasks, and lead people.
Understanding this first step, and getting it right at this very early stage, is probably one of the most important things that organisations consistently get wrong. There is so often a lack of investment in people undertaking their first management role; the bedrock and foundation of things to come as they continue up the ladder. We all know the story of the Three Little Pigs and the consequences of getting the building blocks wrong when the big bad wolf comes along. Organisations facing pressures have many wolves ready to huff and puff at their door.
"Micro-Management is a classic display of fear"
Without learning how to lead people, and manage things, at the first rung of the ladder, people continue to climb up, building on a fundamentally flawed skill set. I've met many leaders that have climbed a very long way up the promotion ladder demonstrating their efficiency through micro-managing, becoming increasingly more stressed as they go. More recently I find myself coaching colleagues who are feeling de-motivated, frustrated, and seriously considering moving onto to another organisation to escape from managers who work that way. Sadly there are no winners in this scenario. Those colleagues with the greatest potential to offer are the one's most likely to move on.
Leadership is a skill set like any other, and by starting out with the right understanding you develop the flexibility and confidence you need to succeed. Knowing how to get the best out of people, and empower people to bring the best of themselves to work allows organisations to flourish and thrive. Its never too late to start. What are you most afraid to lose? Your best colleagues, or your very stressful and lonely place at the top of the knowledge monkey tree?
Executive Coaching can offer you a safe space in which to challenge your assumptions, explore options for change, and develop into the leader you want to be, whatever your level in an organisation. Contact us if you want to know more