If there was even a momentary pause in your mind as you read this question, please continue.

Through my one-on-one coaching relations, I know better than most that executives don’t set out to do harm to their organization’s success. Everyone intends to add-value both to their company and the development of their staff. And yet…. Micromanagers are running amuck everywhere within business today.

Since this attitude is so harmful to careers and the organization, let’s take another look at the chain reaction occurring when micromanaging exists.

If you’re still wondering whether you’re a micromanager or not, ask yourself this key test the environment question: How comfortable are your employees at bringing up problematic issues with you?

In my experience, employees aren’t very willing when they work for someone in power who has command-and-control issues. This is often the root cause of employees choosing to withhold information. They know that the matter will be blown out of proportion if they give their boss a preemptive heads up. Often the fallout of sharing has the employee frantically working within a target zone of blame.

Typically, a micromanager’s response will be bigger, uglier and more devastating than what is called for. In response to problems, micromanagers often dump hours and hours of unnecessary, non-productive, cover our action work. If you need to bring up a concern to someone, who has this mentality, you’re going to hold off as long as possible. This withholding of information is damaging both the micromanager and the company.

If you’re a manager and want to get more information rather than less, here are a few powerful ways to open the door of communication:

  •  Inspire Trust: Trust isn’t necessary if you simply want to exert hierarchical authority; however, if you want more out of your career and your staff, start building trust.
    • It takes time to build and is easily damaged.
    • Be clear about your expectations and demonstrate confidence in your staff’s competency to follow through on the issues. Remember, trust is reciprocal.
    • Provide opportunities to talk with your staff and also for your staff to talk candidly with you. This means listening with the ear of an explorer looking for gold.  You, the leader, must consciously ask open-ended questions where you’re looking for what is good and right in the idea—not as an attorney asking questions to back a person and the idea into the corner of wrongness.
  • Foster Open Dialogue: In today’s marketplace, executives have more to do with an open communication environment in their corporation than almost any other factor. Present-day communication challenges are far beyond what has been experienced in days past. Our current business environment requires more steadfast, conscious action.
    • See sharing information timely as a responsibility not a burden.
    • Encourage tough dialogue around controversial issues along with problem resolutions; and then, respect the expertise your staff brings to the table.
    • Don’t ‘shoot the messenger’ when bad news is brought to you…. And that includes making sure the solution doesn’t ‘kill the messenger’ by overloading them with more work.

Change doesn’t take place overnight. If you suspect you have even a hint of the micromanager exhibited in your management style or you see signs that your staff is withholding information, small, consistent behavior adaptations begins the process of building open-ended pathways to trust. Start today… it is that important.

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