Our Leadership Antidote for the Nasty Infection Called Micro-Management
Nearly all executives I work with are plagued to some degree by the nasty infection of micro-management. A high-impact leader doesn’t disempower people, diminish their confidence, sap their initiative, and stifle their ability to think for themselves. The reality is that if you micro-manage enough, you are just about guaranteed that the folks you are micro-managing will not be able to function without you. High-impact leadership is about active involvement – using knowledge to probe and question, bring weaknesses to light, and rally people to correct them.
My advice to micro-managers (once they see themselves doing it, which often takes months and even years – leaders just don’t want to admit to the infection), dispensed on almost a daily basis, is to work to replace themselves. When you are replaceable as a leader, you have succeeded. I tell micro-managing executives, “Set a goal that, in three months, if you were to die suddenly, your company will function without a hitch and possibly better than if you were alive.” Most say, “But why would I do that? If I become replaceable, what is my value?” My answer: “That is exactly your value. This is what the best leaders do. You will be highly valued because of your ability to build an organization that does not need any one person steering the ship. Look at Jack Welch. The greatest testament to his leadership ability is the fact that he left and Jeffrey Immelt, without a hitch, made it an even better company.”