“You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you get what ya need.”
~The Rolling Stones

Micromanagement is Good Management (Well Sometimes)

We called it Shawshank; as in The Shawshank Redemption. It all happened so fast, one minute my co-workers were reporting to the President of the company in an office with windows and expansive desks—the next minute we were given a new boss to report to (the warden) and moved to this space with no natural light and tiny cubicles.

Our new boss was all business and it wasn’t long before one of us was let go and the rest of us were providing a prioritized to-do list to him at 9am EVERY SINGLE DAY. On some items, he would check on the status throughout the day. I have never been so demotivated in my life. I was more than capable to do the job—as I had proven over the previous two years—but it seemed like every request for status was a questioning of my abilities.

It was in this moment that I decided to leave. It took me two years of looking to find a great job but I moved on and more than anything else—it was the warden who I was leaving.

So I vowed to do it differently. Of course. I would NEVER micromanage in that way. I vowed.

Ten years later, as I reflected on my biggest failures as a leader—it was obvious—I almost never gave my people the direction that they needed. When they had specific questions about how to do their job, I often responded with encouragement for them to figure it out on their own. I would have employees exasperated with me about how they needed my help—and I would give them a smile and tell them I believed in them.

My new hires especially needed me to be engaged with them at a high level. They needed daily to-do lists and advice on how to navigate the corporate monster. They needed direction and I rarely gave it.

Micromanager is the worst insult we can hurl at a leader these days but I'm here to stand up for it, I’m here to say that micromanagement is good management when applied to the right people at the right time. The problem isn’t that micromanagement is bad—the problem is that me and the warden each only had one style of leadership. BOTH styles demotivated. His style demotivated his team of competent employees and my style demotivated my new employees. Yikes.

The best leadership is providing the leadership that is needed. It’s that simple and that complicated. The best leaders actually investigate what their associates need and adjust their style to provide it. How amazing would our workplaces be if our leaders did this?



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It's a funny thing
How we look at the world
How we decide
How we know
Without a doubt
That we're right
And they are wrong

It's interesting
Don't you think?
To watch
To observe
To wonder
What makes people tick

Their actions
Our actions
Aren't we all
Just figuring it out?

My perspective
Your perspective
It's a choice
It's a coat
A hat
A pair of shoes
That we put on

The sadness
The frustration
The victimhood
When we are stuck
Stuck in our outfits

This is the time
To try on something new
Wear someone else's shoes
Put on a different hat
Try on a new coat

You'll be surprised
By what you learn
About them
About me
About you

By Ken Carlson

More poems by Ken Carlson here

Learn how to micromanage (in a good way)--and other leadership skills that are truly effective.

What I talk about above is the heart of Situational Leadership®II and it’s why it is the most taught leadership development course of all time.

How are you as a leader? Do you give your team what they need or are you stuck in a style. Check out this quick quiz to see how you do.

Want more info? I’m now a certified instructor of Situational Leadership®II and I’d love to tell you more about it. Find more information here!

I'm in the business of real conversations. Please reach out if you would like to talk about this or anything real--including love! To set it up,  r
eply to ken@authenticdevelopment.com, call 847-873-9559 or just make an appointment at https://authenticdev.youcanbook.me/ to get started. The link is always up to date.

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