Not too long ago I had a director/partner I was coaching ask me what “micromanagement” meant. At first I thought he was kidding. When I asked him why he wanted to know, he said it was because he had been told for years that he was a micromanager and needed to improve. I asked him if he agreed.
He responded, “Probably, but I really don’t think I’m that big of a micromanager.” That was the problem, a blind spot that was hurting how productive his team was and how engaged they were in their work.
Regardless of your leadership level, learning to delegate what you can is a key component in your success. The first practical thing delegation does for you is increase your capacity. Increasing your capacity for handling more people and more assignments is necessary if you want to progress to more responsibility.
The more important reason to delegate is that it builds capacity and capability in others. At the end of the day, this is your most important responsibility as a leader. It ensures individuals and teams perform at a higher level and the organization is more financially successful.
Here are four key areas I have adopted from Marcus Erb’s blog, “How to Stop Micromanaging Your Team,” and adapted them for our industry. If you want to read his entire blog, visit the Entrepreneur website.
Commit to hiring the right people.
The right people are likely to become more accountable, which always makes things easier.
Clearly and frequently articulate expectations.
I’ve found many micromanagers aren’t clear about their expectations and the outcomes they want. When expectations aren’t met they continue to “pick” at the result until it more closely resembles what they want. This arduous task wears people out and discourages them from wanting to do more. This is particularly true of middle and upper managers dealing lower in the organization.
Give employees decision-making power.
While it may not seem practical to give collectors a voice in decisions, it really is. While you will set expectations for totals and levels of service, how they get there is an important opportunity for their voice and has a way of helping collectors stay motivated.
I often see leadership trying to dictate the “how” as well as the “what.” Try telling employees the “what” more and let them engage in the “how.” You will see people being more encouraged, not less.
Give them an ownership stake.
Creating an atmosphere where people can take ownership is key in long term success. It is one of the ways you build a healthy culture that is fun to work in. By giving them a ‘stake in the game’ they feel more a part of what is being created and delivered to the customer. We all want to feel a part of something greater than we are. That is part of why we work.
For example, we had each collector create their own “company.” We generated ownership certificates and put results under the company name. Not only was it fun, but collectors were energized seeing how their company was performing. All along helping to improve how our company performed.
I have also heard of companies giving ownership stock in projects. Project performance indicated their dividend. Not all dividends were in the form of money. Rewards could be time off, gift cards or other creative rewards. The goal: getting people to think beyond themselves. In order for that to happen we needed to let go and engage people in real ways.
Greater success – in an age of rapid change and a work force with different work styles and values – requires we find ways of delegating.