Monday, August 10, 2009

Control Is An Illusion

Micromanagers govern their kingdoms with rules, constant oversight, supervision and most often an iron fist. Their entire management model is build on "Control". And sadly, they typically spend so much time in the weeds, directing their subordinates, they struggle at the bigger picture of their own job - requiring their bosses to "micromanage" them as well.

The truth is, Control is an Illusion.

Whether you believe it or not, you really don't have control over anything but yourself and what YOU do. And the more Control and Authority you try to invoke over others, they less you actually have (just ask any parent with a teenager).

Your employees do what THEY want to do (nothing more and nothing less) - which is usually what they are rewarded to do. Thus, the concept of work in the first place.

You see, you and your company promise your employees a reward (pay) for coming to and engaging in the work you assign, and they gladly do just that . . . come to work and do what you "tell" them to do.

So the control you think you have, what little there actually is, comes from getting them to "want to do what you want them to do", not because you tell them to do it. Thus, the question that most managers have, but few are actually good at answering is "How do I get them to want to work?"

Hence the dilemma of the Manager, and the birth of the Micromanager.

But there are things you can do to change this. There are ideas you can implement and techniques you can follow to become a more effective manager. If you want to become a more effective manager / leader of your direct reports, you simply need to change your perspective and mindset, the behavior will follow. You need to see your employees as more than just things that do what they are told, when they are told, and how they are told to do it. You need to see them as thinking individuals, that think, act, behave, and are motivated much like you are.

You need to apply the following 5 ideas / steps to your management style:

- TEACH the methods and guidelines of the company,
- DEFINE the results,
- EMPOWER their employees,
- Establish an environment of ACCOUNTABILITY where employees are held accountable for results
- REWARD the behavior you want

Over the next five days, I will break down each of these 5 elements of Management (each day a different idea) to give you the tools you need to move from being a micromanager to an empowering leader and effective manager.

Marcus Buckingham & Curt W. Coffman

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