• Kerri Burchill, PhD

This might be a situation for micromanaging!

I can't tell you how often I have heard employees, friends, and colleagues complain that their leaders "micromanage". It's like micromanage is a bad word. Is it, though?


Case in point: there is this apartment near us that is being painted.


The colors look awesome. No errors on the balcony's unique and repeating paint scheme. The colors don't appear to be bleeding into each other. Quality looks acceptable.


So what is it, then? Take a close look at the ladder.


One of my fabulous neighbors, Dana Smith, caught these pictures and this next one was pause for conversation.


You're seeing this correctly. Some bungee cords are tying multiple ladders together. The painters climb up these ladders to do the painting.


Does this team need micromanaging?


If the leader's vision was to do some quality painting and not mess up the random pattern, then the team has succeeded and no micromanaging needed.

If the leader's vision is about the painting AND safety, then perhaps some more detailed supervision is necessary. Some might say that "detailed supervision" is micromanaging.


Here's the thing:

Micromanaging can be a wonderful complement to a person's knowledge level.


My insights from coaching leaders in this space:

  • get clear on the vision

  • determine if there is a knowledge gap between the vision and the work that needs to get done

Here's the other thing:

Micromanaging never feels good without an explanation. By that, I mean that people can often feel belittled through the micromanaging process. To avoid imposing a negative feeling like belittling, create a story about why you are getting thick in the weeds and micromanaging.


For example, if I was this job site supervisor, I might say, "I am going to partner with you as you set up the ladder to make sure you're safe. It's important to us that everyone goes home in the same condition in which they came to work."


Explain the what and the why.


As most things that are squishy like this concept of micromanaging and assessing for a gap knowledge, it's always good to have a sounding board. I'd love to be your sounding board, so set up a time with me and we can chat through your vision, the knowledge of your team and if the situation merits micromanaging.


Kerri


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