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I worked with Larry (not his real name), an engineer who had been a leader for about five years. Feedback from his boss was good. As occurs in many organizations, a reorganization happened and Larry got a new boss. Feedback from the new boss was not as positive as Larry had heard in the past.
Larry was told he was a micromanager. He didn't believe it. His old boss had never said anything about Larry micromanaging.
So the question is, should Larry believe the new boss or the old boss?
I was brought in to coach Larry to be a more strategic leader. Instead of believing either boss, we reviewed the signs of micromanagement. To read them click on The 3 Signs of Micromanagement
Larry defined himself as a "hands on" manager, but he was really micromanaging - doing too much himself, not delegating, and he didn't trust his staff, so he was constantly checking on them. Larry realized he could be a different leader, so we clarified what a strategic leader did and didn't do, then we set actions each week for Larry to "let go" of his old work and start leading strategically.
Like any person, Larry had both successes and opportunities (sounds so much nicer than failures). But slowly Larry started to delegate more, worry less and act more strategically each day. Feedback from his boss became much more positive.
If you want to be a better leader:
Define the kind of leader you want to be - describe it specifically
Take small steps every day to move towards the kind of leader you want to be - any movement in the right direction is better than standing still
Ask for support - you can't do this alone, your staff, boss and coach can all help
Forgive yourself if you are not perfect - everyone makes mistakes when trying out new behaviors, accept this fact
If you want to "fine tune" your leadership skills, I would love to talk. Contact me at Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
To learn more about avoiding micromanagement click on Are you working "in" the business or "on" the business?
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