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  • Brian Reynolds

Do you Micromanage or Macro Appreciate?

Wish You Were Still on Summer Vacation?

It’s hard to believe that in just under four months we’ll be sitting by the fireplace enjoying a hot drink, admiring our Christmas trees and listening to a rendition of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” As the snow begins to fall memories of our summer vacation quickly evaporate. Then, with a warmth in your heart you’ll remember how great it was your first day back to work. Your manager welcomed you with a cup of coffee in hand to greet you. They admonished how re-energized, refreshed and relaxed you appeared.

The conversation starts like,”Welcome back, we missed you! Hope you had a great time off.” Then the conversation ends with, “We have a lot of work to do but I’m here if you need me.” Then you recall the last time you asked for help it was a ghost town! Many won’t have to look for help because your manager will be there for you. Again, again and again! In your face around every corner. Perhaps you’ve heard of (or are working with someone) known as the dreaded Micromanager!?

Micromanaging? Survey Says…

If you’re a leader, manager or in a supervisory position, stop micromanaging! In a survey of over 12,000 workers across Canada and the United States conducted by recruiting firm Robert Half (1), researcher Nic Marks urges managers not to micromanage. Marks believes that micromanaging “robs employees of the chance to grow.” “Micromanaging is one of the most damaging habits an executive can have. Groups that adapt to a micromanagement style are either quietly rebellious or hapless, unable to make any independent decisions. This leaves the leader constantly putting out fires, rather than focusing on the larger tasks that only you can perform.” (2)

The Downside of Micromanaging

Downsides of micromanaging can include loss of trust, loss of creativity, loss of loyalty and loss of productivity. When we’re at the receiving end of someone who is micromanaging we tend to ask ourselves, “why are they doing this?” Here are some examples from workers I spoke with feeling micromanaged after an interaction with their manager:

  1. “We’ve done it this way for the last 5 years, so why is it different now?”

  2. “I’ve just returned from vacation and now my boss thinks I’ve buried all my experience and knowledge at the beach.”

  3. “She told me to change the display and do it differently but didn’t show me how she wanted it done.”

  4. “Is he trying to teach me a new procedure or just grandstanding when there are people around making me feel like an idiot?”

Spend More Time “Macro Appreciating” – Less Time Micromanaging!

During my discussions with these same workers I was interested in finding out how much time they thought was spent by their manager/supervisor over managing. One participant shared they spent 1-2 days setting up a seasonal display (which they have been doing for years successfully) only to be asked to change it which took another half day to complete. Another participant shared they had just presented a sales strategy when their boss stood up and shared the exact same message. Eyes were rolling as the employees were wondering if their boss’s boss had a hearing problem or was he just trying to appear smarter? This left the presenter demoralized resulting in lost productivity, anger, frustration and a raised stress level. He wondered if it was time to start looking for another job. Instead of ‘micromanaging,’ spending more time “macro appreciating” (a larger focus on appreciation) will yield better results.

As a former manager I would often step back and look at the big picture and look at what my staff was doing well. You can always find something that a person is doing well! Leaders can be more effective by learning more about their employees and specifically, how they like to be appreciated. More “macro appreciating” – less “micromanaging.”

Learning The Languages of Appreciation

Managers and supervisors have a golden opportunity right now to start fresh as their teams/volunteers have returned from vacation relaxed and re-energized. It might be awkward for some to start showing authentic appreciation because quite frankly, they have been stingy with it in the past.Try being up front and more transparent with your employees. You could be the person who puts the wind back in their sails.

The key to this is make sure you clearly understand what language of appreciation is important to themnot you. Once you understand their language (by completing the MBA Inventory assessment), start practicing each day until it becomes part of who you are and build it into your company’s culture. You’ll look back four months from now realizing your company’s staff turnover rate has declined, customer service has improved and morale is up! What a great Christmas gift!

(1) Published Oct. 27, 2016 / Global News / Patricia Kozicka

(2) Forbes Coaches Council (edited)

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