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Micromanagers - The Great Destructors

In many cases when an entrepreneur builds a business, during the first few years, he does just about everything. As the company grows, new employees need to be trained and empowered to do the jobs for which they were hired. As mentioned earlier, this is especially true when you begin to put a management team together. Sometimes it is difficult for the entrepreneur to “let go,” and what emerges is a culture of micromanagement. I’ve seen this happen many times over the years and result in the loss of good employees, and the employees who stay eventually become useless when you need to rely on them. Many studies have been done on why some people have this need to micromanage. The findings are surprising. The obvious characteristic is that the micromanager has trust issues. Also, the micromanager may suffer from insecurity and lack of confidence. If the micromanager controls everything, there is less likely that he will be discovered to be a fraud. He also has a tremendous need to take credit for everything that happens. What is funny, in most cases the classic micromanager sees himself as a great leader, which is far from the truth. If you find the need to micromanage, devise a way to control it. It is one of the top killers of professionalism and productivity in the workplace. Rather than not trusting your employees, implement a degree of oversight by implementing measurable goals and objectives. If they are meeting or exceeding those goals, leave them alone. In the words of the great leader Ronald Reagan, “trust but verify.”

The best example of the classic micromanager came to my attention recently. I was given a copy of the following memo sent out by the president of a mid-sized company before she left on a trip that took her away from the office for three [] days:

“ The President’s trip is next week. The team will be gone from April 28 – May 2. In the event something out of the ordinary happens while I am away, I would like you to call me and/or (the owner, who is no longer active in the business). If neither of us is available, you three will collectively make any decision that needs to be made. I will have international calling on my phone, plus I will be using the “Whatsapp” app to send and receive text messages. Please make sure you download that app to your phone. I will have my cell with me.

When you first read this memo, you might think [] it is rather benign. However, it reads much more controlling when you learn who the three who must collectively make any decisions are. They are one senior vice president [] and two vice presidents. The three have a combined fifty years of service with the company and all have at least fourteen years. My message to this president is – RELAX. How much damage can these guys do in three days (especially since two of those days were weekend days)? And if you can’t leave for three days without having your phone and your “Whatsapp,” then maybe it’s time to find some new senior managers. Imagine what communication like this does to the morale of three key people in your business.

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