Dan Pliszka
Author. Speaker. Consultant.
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Random Thoughts and Musings

#18 of 37 Lessons – Don’t Micromanage

Don’t Micromanage – in a previous post about delegation, I warned of the inefficiency brought about by poor delegation of duties. Even worse than poor delegation – micromanagement can be the death knell of employee morale. A good friend of mine works in a micromanaged organization. She is barred by her manager from sending any kinds of communications to higher ranking employees without the manager’s approval. 

This friend, is a highly-trained professional with many years of experience in several different organizations where she performed similar duties in each one. It’s not that she is a novice at her job, or is a screw-up waiting to happen. No. She is a throttled-back discontented employee looking for a place to go where her skills can be trusted, utilized and appreciated. She’s just biding her time for the right opportunity to come along and then when she leaves, her managers will wonder, “what happened?”

My aversion to micromanagement came at an early age. My grandmother owned “Pliszka Hardware” which was much more than a hardware store as it sold everything from nails by the pound to feminine hygiene products. As a young kid, I worked at the store and soon wanted to learn all things mechanical. I was especially drawn to cutting glass to size and mixing paint colors. Once I had learned to do both tasks, I didn’t want an adult looking over my shoulder – if I had a question, or concern, I would ask for help. Otherwise, leave me alone – I’ve got this! In short order, my grandmother trusted me and went on to do more important duties to keep the store running. 

As an illustration of micromanagement in reverse, one of my former employees was continually coming to me for permission to do things which were essential parts of her job. Soon, I said, “Samantha (not her real name), we pay you a lot of money to make decisions and get on with your job; it’s time you do so.” Probably not my best employee relations quote, though she quickly got the picture. I went on to say, “We trust you to do a good job and if you are unsure of yourself, come ask questions anytime. Equally, if you think something you are about to do will cause a kerfuffle, let’s talk about that too. I’m always here for you if you need me.” Samantha walked away with a smile on his face. Thereafter, her performance went through the roof – it was a great lesson for both of us. 

Steve Jobs said, "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do." Are you a micromanager? What important duties could you be doing instead of micromanaging your employees? Tell me your story.

Dan 

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