We've probably all had some experience or another with a micromanager, maybe even a micromanaging CEO. But as a CEO, how do you know if you're a micromanager and do you know how to stop?
A marketing consultant I know posted on his Facebook page the other day: “Always wonder why some CEOs would rather diddle with things on a web page or other marketing minutia than deal with really important business strategy issues or building a company team.”
While I know this was more of an expression of his current frustration with a client than a real question, it got me thinking, and I suspect the answer may be relatively simple: Entrepreneurs stay in startup mode too long.
Entrepreneurs are by nature doers, and while in startup mode they are directly involved in just about every aspect of their companies. That is how their companies are born, succeed, and grow.
As a company grows, however, its leadership needs change, and some entrepreneurs have trouble shifting gears. They find it difficult to shift from doing to leading, so they become micromanaging CEOs. The problem is that micromanaging by a CEO can mean the downfall of a young company. It's time CEOs learn how to stop micromanaging their young companies.
Micromanaging Kills Your Team
When CEOs micromanage their staff and subordinates, productivity and creativity suffer.
Additionally, the more that CEOs micromanage, the less time and energy they have to give to the critical work of a CEO.
If a CEO focuses on tactics, then no one is attending to vision, direction and strategy. If a CEO keeps busy with day-to-day operations, then no one is taking the long-range perspective. If a CEO is spending time telling employees exactly how to do their jobs, then no one is inspiring and motivating them or building a company team.
How to Tell if You're a Micromanaging CEO
Ask yourself six questions (The Consequences of Micromanaging).
If you answered YES to two of these questions, then you are probably micromanaging your employees.
How to Stop Micromanaging: Start Delegating
One antidote to micromanaging is learning to delegate. Delegation is a critical skill both for personal success and for the success of the company you lead.
Like any other leadership skill, you can’t acquire it by reading a book (Leadership is Like Skiing: You Can’t Learn It by Reading a Book). You might intellectually understand delegating after reading a book or an article, but that doesn’t mean you can do it. You have to unlearn old habits, default reactions, and assumptions about human nature in order to adopt new and different choices and behaviors. That takes time and effort—and you may need someone to help you.
Some Things to Start Doing Now
Even though it may take some time for you to develop your delegating skills, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do in the meanwhile. Here are three simple (but still challenging) things you can do to stop micromanaging.
Kevin Dincher is an organization development consultant, professional development coach and educator with 30 years of experience that includes not only OD consulting, but also work in adult education, counseling psychology and crisis management, program and operations management, and human resources. Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgLinkedIn: kevindincherTwitter: kdincher