When a leader does someone else’s job for them, neither person is growing.
Micromanaging can make a new leader very comfortable. New leaders know the jobs they just came from doing. They were obviously good at the job because they got promoted out of that position. The mistake many new leaders make is they accept the new title, yet they continue doing the job they are no longer being paid to do. They don’t fully make the transition from doing their old job to leading the people who do their old job.
Yes, the success that a new leader had in the past can help them train and develop people who currently work in those roles. But many leaders settle into a comfortable state of simply evaluating what others are doing and cleaning up a problem when it occurs. They often get overly involved in solving problems that they used to solve in their old jobs. They step in, tell people what to do based on their own experience, and then make sure people do what they were told to do.
That is not leadership. That is management that crosses the line into micromanagement. When a new leader stays too involved in their old job, they not only hamper their own growth, but also the growth of the people they are called to lead. We define Duty as:
Taking action based on our assigned tasks and moral obligations.
It is a leader's moral obligation to develop themselves and the people they are called to lead.
When a leader is overly involved in doing everyone else’s jobs, that leader is not growing. That leader is stuck in her old job and thinking at her old level. What needs to change?
Instead of solving problems for others that she used to solve for herself, she begins to think at a higher level. She has the vision and the capacity to see the bigger picture that a leader needs to see. When she lifts her head up from the day to day tasks that others are paid to do, she becomes proactive instead of reactive.
With her head up, she solves problems earlier and she can see the incoming wave that her team is going to need to ride. She and her team will not be surprised by the wave. They will be paddling with the wave as it reaches them.
Micromanaging also stunts the growth of the team. If the leader is stepping in to solve all the problems, there is no reason for individuals on the team to stretch themselves. If she always has the last word on solving the problem, she has taken away the opportunity for others to try new solutions and learn from their results.
When people are empowered to do their job and allowed to solve problems their way, they grow. The leader is no longer needed at their level because they are now operating at a level above themselves. They are now solving problems quicker and more efficiently. They are growing and the team stops being reactive and becomes proactive.
Get Comfortable with Your New Job
New leaders need to step away from what makes them comfortable and start doing the work that makes them uncomfortable. That is what the people who promoted you expect you to do. Your old job is now being done by someone else. Let them do it. Coach them - Yes! But don’t fall into the habit of micromanaging your old role.
You have too much to learn and too many new challenges to tackle in your new role. When a new leader focuses on growing themselves and growing others, everyone starts operating at a higher level.
Dig Deep Questions:
How did it feel when someone micromanaged you?
This week, how can you empower someone to do their job with autonomy?
Here is a quick assessment that will take you 5 minutes to figure it out. Nobody will ever see your results but you.
Warning: If you are not going to be honest with yourself this is a worthless assessment.
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