Micro-managed ~ it's an opinion
Lisa, office manager for a local equipment rental company, told Session 9 of the Leadership Development Lab:
"During our last office department meeting, Linda, our newest office employee, got up enough nerve to ask me a question that had been bothering her ever since she came to work for us about three months ago. She had been noticing that I had been arriving 1 to 1½ hours earlier than my sift required each day. She asked if indeed my hours were 8:30 to 5:30, and wanted to know why I was coming to work so early. She explained her question by relating to me her uneasiness; she went on to say that she felt I was acting like a 'babysitter.' She thought that I came to work early to observe her working performance in the morning, sort of looking over her shoulder. I quickly realized that I had not been seeing this situation from her 'point of view' - Leadership Principle #5 - See Their Point of View. She was giving me the corrective feedback I needed to improve my performance. I immediately endeavored to dispel any worries she had about her work performance and explained why I had been coming in early, which had nothing to do with a lack of trust in her.
"Since then, I have shown up at work each day a little closer to my regularly scheduled work time. I have made it a point to socialize and joke with Linda every day when I first get to work.
"The lesson I learned from this experience is that I must be receptive to coaching and corrective feedback from others. This is just as important, maybe more important, than providing the much needed feedback to those around me to help them improve their performance.
"The action I call you to take is don't be
afraid to give and receive corrective feedback; it is the only way for you to learn where and how you can improve your performance. Without it, even if you are early, you may be missing the target.
"The benefit you will gain by listening to the feedback of others is alignment and reduced frustration. Your team will be willing and able to learn together. You will create a true learning organization."
When is help helpful? Having help available is something everyone needs and wants. Paying attention is empowering, and ignoring team members is the most cruel kind of punishment. If the people we are endeavoring to help feel that we are breathing down their necks, standing over their shoulder, watching every move they make, this is anything but helpful. Instead, it's disempowering, diminishing and de-motivating. Remember the sign in the auto shop that says, "Flat rate—$75 an hour. If you watch, $150 an hour." No doubt these signs are posted to create the light touch, yet there is a serious message behind them. So today, make it a point to be available, pay attention, but do not look over their shoulders, breathe down the necks or micro-manage those you supervise. You'll create an empowered team that will work at peak levels. All of your projects will come in ahead of schedule.
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