Today I had the opportunity to witness something, that not only have I done, but Leaders have done for years on end. Have you ever gone up to a pull to open door and pushed on it? Perhaps you approached a push to open door and pulled on it. Either way, the result was definitely not what you had planned as you came up to that door. The comical thing is when the person does it again as if to say, “If I do it harder this time, it surely will work!” Once I tried the door four times before stopping to see what was wrong and corrected my method!
The reason people do this is because we often move through life in a very assumptive mode. Working on a form of auto-pilot not really paying attention to what we are doing until the “door” does not do as we thought it should. Leaders often fall into the push/pull syndrome when they fail to take time to pay attention to the ever-changing environment around them and to the people who make up their Team. Too many times Leaders are so determined to push when they need to pull, or pull when they needed to push, that they strongly move forward convinced that their way is correct and if they just put a little more effort into it, it surely will work. Then to top off the ill-fated effort, when the mistake is brought to light, they frequently do not accept responsibility for the incorrect move, shift blame to the “door” or worse yet, simply ignore it and their credibility goes into a downward spiral.
Even though the push/pull syndrome happens daily across our great business world, there is a remedy. First, the Leader needs to take time to properly plan their moves and be aware of the people and happenings around them on a daily basis. Review at the beginning of the day the events of the previous day and the challenges of the day ahead. Then plan for success in that days activities. Second, once you have a plan and are prepared for what you know the day will bring, work the plan, but be flexible as the situations may call for last-minute changes. Third and finally, once you work the plan, review either your success or identify your area for growth in the plan. Then make the changes in your future plans when confronting similar issues in the future.
We all make mistakes and often we are slow to recognize when we are working in the wrong methods. If you fall victim to the push/pull syndrome, don’t be too hard on yourself if it is just an occasional happening. The key is to identify it early, change it quickly, plan and then adjust the course as needed for the future.
Until next time, watch out for that door!
Want to win in Leadership with powerful Teams and exceptional people? Here is one of the ingredients: DIVERSITY! Accept it, practice it and win with it!
THE DIVERSITY CREED
By Gene Griessman, Ph.D. © 1993
I believe that diversity is a part of the natural order of things—as natural as the trillion shapes and shades of the flowers of spring or the leaves of autumn. I believe that diversity brings new solutions to an ever-changing environment, and that sameness is not only uninteresting but limiting.
To deny diversity is to deny life—with all its richness and manifold opportunities. Thus, I affirm my citizenship in a world of diversity, and with it the responsibility to….
- Be tolerant. Live and let live. Understand that those who cause no harm should not be feared, ridiculed, or harmed—even if they are different.
- Look for the best in others.
- Be just in my dealings with poor and rich, weak and strong, and whenever possible to defend the young, the old, the frail, the defenseless.
- Avoid needless conflicts and diversions, but be always willing to change for the better that which can be changed.
- Seek knowledge in order to know what can be changed, as well as what cannot be changed.
- Forge alliances with others who love liberty and justice.
- Be kind, remembering how fragile the human spirit is.
- Live the examined life, subjecting my motives and actions to the scrutiny of mind and heart so to rise above prejudice and hatred.
There is an evil villain that lurks in many workplaces today. Often times he/she can be found hiding in the shadows watching your every move, checking up on you and waiting for the prime time to pounce! Worse yet this villain often times does not hide at all but is right out in the open for all to see and often we feel powerless to do anything to stop him/her. Who is this age-old villain I speak of in the workplace……. it’s………………MICROMANAGER!!!!
Some would say that occasionally micromanaging is needed. This would be true with a new Team Member or someone venturing into an area they have not encountered before. Otherwise a true Leader never has to micromanage because he/she knows the Team and each ones unique abilities and therefore assigns tasks to each one accordingly. Thus, the true Leader can trust the Team Member will move forward and succeed or at least the Leader knows that he/she and the Team Member have an open line of communication to the point the Team Member feels free to come and ask for help. No need for the Leader to be constantly checking in or making suggestions. He/She knows that the project will be done correctly and has already set up times to come together with the Team Member to discuss their progress and/or roadblocks they have encountered.
Are you wondering if you might be the villain, MICROMANAGER? Is your Leader the villain MICROMANAGER?
Here are some symptoms that can be observed in those who are micromanaging:
- They appear frustrated that nobody is “getting it” or taking things as seriously as they do.
- They want frequent status updates, even when things are operating normally.
- They are quick to point out errors and mistakes of Team Members.
- They have an overloaded task list, but their teams are looking for things to do.
- They get upset if they’re not consulted before decisions are made.
- They’ll take back delegated tasks to do them quicker or better themselves.
- They assign a task and then go out first and do the task they assigned to someone else
- They show up unannounced and often change directions you have given your team
So, what do you do if you are micromanaged? 70% of the respondents of a recent random survey feel they have been or currently are working for a micromanager. The sad part of this is that fact that as long as an organization is seeing results from the department that is being micromanaged, they often will not do anything to the one doing the micromanaging. If that happens, it is up to the Team Member to adjust, here are some options:
- Take a critical look at your own performance. Is there anything you are doing that is adding to the problem? Self-identified micromanagers often claim that they wouldn’t have to micromanage if their people would just do what they were supposed to do. It may not fix the problem, but delivering your best may give you a little more breathing room.
- Play by their rules. Admittedly, spending your day requesting permission for every action, justifying every decision or rewriting every sentence is not productive. However, fighting it will be even less so. Figure out the hot buttons, pet peeves and sticking points and try to abide. Sadly this may mean spending more time on the non-value-added appeasing tasks, but if you can streamline them, you may be able to create a workable relationship.
- Try not to take it to heart. Assuming your work is sound, try not to let the constant nit-picking affect your self-confidence. The problem is the manager’s, not yours.
- Talk to them about their behavior. You may want to attempt a frank, but respectful discussion with the Leader about the issue. Come prepared with recent examples and ideas for how you can work better together. Be aware though, that they may be unable to recognize that their behavior is problematic and their inherent lack of trust may create a contentious discussion.
- Take it up with a “higher authority” Often this approach may end up doing more harm than good. At the very heart of micromanagement is a lack of trust, and going over the Leader’s head, potentially making him/her look bad is a cardinal sin in the eyes of this type of Leader. Although it may buy some momentary relief, chances are you will suffer in the long run.
- Leave the organization. This option may be the only choice in some situations. Assume your Leader is not going to leave. If you find that your work, your family and most likely your health and well-being are suffering because of a work situation that has become intolerable, looking for a better job may be the best thing you could do for yourself and your long-term career. Ultimately, you are in control of your own future and can make the decision to leave for greener pastures.
No one likes to be micromanaged because, generally speaking, if you were hired to do a job, trained to complete that job and have on open communication line to your Leader and the resources need to complete the job; then you should be allowed to do the job!
Until next time, if you are micromanaging…stop it! If you are being micromanaged, hang in there and send the Leader this blog………….