“Thanks for all the recommendations on what leaders SHOULD do. Now, tell us what are the things leaders SHOULD NOT do?”
— Need to Know in Nashville
We are continuing with the question that came from Need to Know in Nashville. In our last Best Boss Minute we talked about lack of integrity and lack of empathy.
In today’s Best Boss Minute, I want to share two more things that leaders really need to be careful of — one is micromanagement and the other is poor communication.
By definition, micromanagement is when leaders don’t delegate tasks or give their team members room to make decisions or take ownership of their work. It can stifle creativity and motivation. But the truth is that micromanagement is not something to throw away 100%. When we use it, we have to be specific and clear about when and why we are using it.
The first thing is to take a look at the situational leadership model. It basically says that micromanagement is really useful when you’re working with somebody who is highly motivated but has no idea what they’re doing. This tends to be new employees, people who are new to a task, new to a project, or new to a team. Feel free to exercise micromanagement, which is really just more directive leadership, but in a very specific situation.
Secondly, the research is showing us that now more than ever autonomy is important. People are craving autonomy. This is especially true for the latest generation to come into the workplace. Those are folks that are not only craving autonomy but insisting on it. So keep that in mind too. If you happen to be from another generation like I am, this may not resonate with you as much. Just understand that it resonates and motivates so much more deeply for the younger folks who are coming into our workforce.
And then thirdly, recognize that micromanagement, even when exercised well, in some ways is dependent on how receptive the person will be to it. So think about personality styles and do something like the DISC personality assessment (which is something that we can do at Unleashed Consulting for you and/or your team). Their DISC style will really give you some indication of how receptive they are to micromanagement and how you might translate that.
We see poor communication in leaders who fail to communicate clearly and effectively with their teams, which can cause misunderstandings and confusion leading to low morale and decreased productivity. So three things that I want to point out to you for really mitigating poor communication.
First, and we’ve talked about this before, is always define reality. What do we know? What do we not know? What are the gaps that we need to fill? At the beginning of every conversation, and every communication, define the reality of the situation.
The next thing to keep in mind, and this is turning out to be really true in our new work environment, is you can’t overcommunicate. Despite what people have said and what some of the popular feedback is – you can’t overcommunicate as a leader.
People may reach their limit in terms of communication, but they will edit out the communication they don’t need to receive. So keep in mind, even if you feel like you’re overcommunicating, you’re really not. Now asking for a response and reply may be exhausting for folks, but for you to communicate a message over and over again, I absolutely encourage you to do that.
And lastly, use the rule of six. The rule of six says that anytime that you are communicating something important, communicate it in six different ways. So email, perhaps a voice message, a Loom video, a written correspondence, or messaging coming from another person. Think about how you can arrange for your message to happen in six different ways.
Stay tuned for our next Best Boss Minute when we’ll talk about inconsistency and lack of vision. See you then!