The process of consistent, highly-effective leadership requires a considerable amount of deliberation. Every action taken, every word spoken, and every decision made has the potential to make a significant impact. For many leaders, it can be difficult to remain level-headed amidst all of this pressure. Unfortunately, one of the negative outcomes that can occur for leaders is micromanagement and it represents an unhealthy decision-making process.
Bob Reasso, a highly-experienced athletic director with a firmly-established history of working in the higher education industry, has an overview detailing exactly why micromanagement and “over-coaching” are things that every leader should avoid at all costs.
Simply put, one bad habit that is all too common among leaders is the notion of self-importance. While it is true that leaders have many responsibilities and they need to work hard in order to achieve results, it is critical for leaders to consider that regardless of the fact that they are at the top, they are still merely part of a whole. Without others to lead, a leader would have nothing. With this in mind, it is important to note that leadership should never be about establishing dominance or self-promotion, says Bob Reasso. It is certainly a difficult process to go through the motions of self-evaluation, weeding out the insecurities that may stimulate such negative behavior, but in the end, it is certainly worthwhile.
Leaders play a pivotal role in setting the standards that are followed by those they lead and micromanagement can exasperate these norms to the point where they are perceived in an almost exclusively negative way. Whether it is general feelings of unhappiness, perhaps escalating as far as resentment, the inevitable information overload from overly-frequent communication, or the sheer amount of stress that micromanagement can cause, all of these elements can and will add up quickly to a negative working environment. As such, says Bob Reasso, leaders that wish to be effective have a responsibility to mitigate these negative aspects. The best way to do so is to step back, avoiding the urge to micromanage in the first place.
It is precisely the process of taking a hands-off approach that is the surest way to establish trust between leaders and those they lead. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the reality is this: leaders cannot lead people unless they wish to be led. Instead of trying to force compliance through micromanagement, leaders must learn to let go, giving trust freely. They trust that the necessary tasks will get done and that, above all else, people will genuinely want to do them. By empowering others with such responsibility, it is only natural for a greater sense of trust to follow, further strengthening relationships.
Above all else, it is imperative for leaders to understand exactly how their position works. The oft-perceived prestige of being at the very top is a disservice to the fundamental role a leader plays. Quite simply, they are directly responsible for the well-being of everyone around them.
For leaders, every moment is an opportunity to serve, including through the avoidance of micromanagement. It may be difficult to resist such impulses, but one of the simplest ways to do so is to simply put yourself in the position of those you lead, says Bob Reasso. If it were you being given orders, would you want to be over-managed to the point where you virtually have no say, experience frustration, and don’t feel trusted?