Recently, I worked with a self-confessed micro-manager. (I’ll call her Sam).
She knows this is getting in the way of good leadership and she’s also finding it exhausting – but she feels nervous about being ‘hands off’ and (in her words) ‘losing control and not knowing what’s going on.’
And that’s the problem – we tend to look at things as either/or.
Either I’m a micromanager or I’m hands off.
But as you know by now (do I say this enough?!) we can take one step at a time to change any behaviour that’s not serving us or others well. But knowing how or where to start is often the stumbling block.
There’s a lot to explore with something like micromanaging.
And Sam wanted something practical to make a start.
So, here’s what we did first. I asked her these questions to get to the root of her micromanaging tendencies and help her understand herself a little more:
1. What does being in control mean to you?
2. What does letting go mean to you?
3. Imagine a scale of 1-10 with 10 being letting go completely and 1 being micromanaging – where would you say you are on this scale?
4. On a scale of 1-10 where would you like to be by the end of this first month (and why)?
5. And, more importantly, where would each of your team members like you to be and why? (You can’t guess – you have to ask them – one at a time!).
She was reluctant at first to ask her team – showing vulnerability doesn’t sit easy with her.
But she chose the member of the team she knows best. They had an honest conversation – it was so much easier than she thought – and she’s got some helpful, implementable ideas. Which has spurred her on to have the next conversation.
Our next job? Looking at how and when the ‘micromanaging’ started, her thoughts around micromanaging vs. letting go and the feelings she has about both.
Because as she starts to recognise her unhelpful thinking patterns, she can start to change them.
Our thoughts really do create our reality.