Some leaders are so worried about being seen as micromanagers that they become something worse–the absent boss.
The Inspiring Leader Quadrant
This tool will be helpful tool for you to use as you continue to grow as a leader and ensure everyone is getting what they need to be at their best.
Why is it important? To inspire your team, you need to provide both support and collaboration. Micromanagers provide support for their team but need more consistent collaboration to help their people thrive.
The trap managers fall into as they look to avoid the negative consequences of being a micromanager is they pull back in the direction instead of dialing up the collaboration.
Micromanaging is not your goal. But, why do people micromanage?
- Lack of trust: Managers who do not trust their employees may feel the need to micromanage to ensure that tasks are completed to their satisfaction.
- Fear of failure: Some managers may micromanage out of fear of failure. They may believe that if they do not closely supervise their team, mistakes will be made, and the blame will fall on them.
- Inexperience: Managers who are new to their role or need more experience may feel unsure about how to delegate tasks effectively, leading them to micromanage.
- Perfectionism: Some managers may have high standards and expect their team to perform to a certain level of perfection, which can lead to micromanaging.
The problem is that this approach to working with people increases the chances of burnout.
People want collaboration. Gallup research has found that employees are 43% less likely to experience burnout when they can collaborate. They want to be able to help decide what tasks to do, when to do them, and how much time to spend on them.
To help your team be at their best, provide as much flexibility in the job as possible, in addition to continued support and guidance.
Here are a few questions you can ask to help you collaborate:
- What support do you need from me to be successful?
- What are some obstacles we might encounter, and how can we work together to overcome them?
- How can we ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and their contributions are valued?
- What feedback do you have for me about how we can collaborate more effectively?
- What are some ways we can leverage each other’s strengths to improve our performance?
The absent boss is usually so busy doing all the work themselves that they are out of touch with their team’s needs and hope people will figure out on their own. This boss may delegate tasks but is then unavailable until the project is nearly completed.
This manager gets inconsistent results. They ask a lot of questions and are always listening to feedback, but they struggle to make decisions and execute. Their teams struggle because they lack the consistency needed to urgently move projects forward.
The Inspiring Leader
They balance the ability to provide radical candor and being open to critical feedback. They are not concerned with who has the best ideas. They just want the best ideas to come to life. As a result, their team leaves work every day feeling empowered, supported, and confident in their ability to do their role because they have a boss who focuses on their strengths.
How can you best use this quadrant?
Save this quadrant and talk through it with your team in your next 1:1. Let them know you want to use this tool to become a better manager, and that means you need them to be honest with you.
Ask them to tell you where they thought you were as a leader and what you can do as a leader to be more supportive and collaborative.
Then listen, be curious, and avoid being defensive. This is your opportunity to learn, not explain why you do the things you do. Have questions? I’m an open book. Let me know how I can help.
Jacob Espinoza is a leadership coach in Salem, Oregon. For more information visit JacobEspinoza.com.