I like failure. I like failures. I like letting my employees fail. Why? Because I want my business to succeed. I believe failure is one of the quickest and best ways to learn how to suceed. Those leaders who do not allow their followers to fail are micromanagers, and they rob their followers of opportunities to learn how to be successful and therefore they rob themselves of the opportunity to build truly successful organizations.
Micromanagement – “In business management, micromanagement is an example of poor management where the manager over-manages people unnecessarily. Instead of giving people general instructions and then allowing them to do their job, the micromanager monitors and assesses every step. The manager may be motivated by concern for details. The effect, however, may be to de-motivate employees and create resentment.”
Of course micromanagers will say “But I had to step in. I didn’t step in unnecessarily.” This is like the man who, possessed with road rage, runs another car off the road, killing the occupants, and then tells the police “You would have done the same thing in my shoes.” Each of us sometimes does things because we think we “have to” or “anyone in my place would have done the same” when in reality there were many choices we could have made and we simply failed to see them or purposely ignored them.
Management – My own definition of “management” is “controlling those activities designed to accomplish one’s goal.”
Leadership – I like how George Terry put it when he said that leadership is “the activity of influencing people to strive willingly for group objectives”.
What is the difference between micromanagement, management, and leadership? Micromanagement is management to an excessively controlled degree. We generally know it when we see it. We all know it when it happens to us. We rarely recognize it when we do it.
Leadership is a form of management, but the key word in Terry’s definition is “willingly.” Micromanagement rules by force. The micromanager takes control of a situation because he assumes those who have the task of controlling it are unable or unwilling to control it themselves. Obviously this is quite insulting to those persons concerned, even if they are truly unable or unwilling.
My modus operandi when I’m training a new employee is to give them the knowledge and tools they need to succeed at a task and maybe run through it with them if they’re totally new to it. Then I turn them loose and let them ask for help if they need it. I try to only step in if there is a true emergency. This can be difficult. My firm might lose work because of it. But I’ve found that my employees learn quickly, especially when they realize that I’m not going to step in and that it’s up to them to suceed or fail–they’re in control. In the end, I think my company is better off having a hands-off management approach that emphasize personal responbility. True, it doesn’t work for everyone, but those aren’t the people I want working for MWI anyway.