I’ve only had one job in my life whereby I received a paycheck from a company that was not my own. During the process of getting to know the senior executives and deciding whether or not I would take on the role I still asked if I could invoice for my hours and commissions as a consultant. I’ve always felt more in control if I ran my own company.
After many discussions and due diligence, it was agreed that I would need to sign onto the payroll like all the previous executives had done simply because “that’s just the way things are done at corporate headquarters.” My role was limited to the province of British Columbia so that meant that I would have only one executive above me. A vice-president who answered directly to the president of the company.
In my early working life, I was able to grow a business from a small team of 10 people in one city to a team of over 1000 people working in 11 countries. I accomplished this feat without having to resort to micromanaging my team. I used a combination of consistent messaging, 100% transparency and personal availability coupled with consistent education, motivation, and a relationship-driven management style.
As I’m a big proponent of journaling I would like to share some of my journaling notes I took during this short 8-month stint as an employee in hopes that it will inspire problematic micromanagers to rethink their people management style or at least develop a higher skilled management tool box.
Here’s an example of a typical micromanager’s mindset.
“People don’t do what you expect only what you inspect”
A very successful Dutch Entrepreneur shared the above advice with one of my close colleagues. He was serious and attributed his success to this tenet.
One of the things that really annoyed me during my short stint is that because I was being micromanaged I felt the need to micromanage my people in order to get the constant by the minute reporting data that was expected of me. Because all my employees were remote and on the job dealing with customers I had to continually interrupt their workflow in order to ask about results which I needed to report back to the vice-president.
My thoughts during this period were:
- I don’t like this because I feel restricted and limited.
- I don’t feel like my people are doing their best and they definitely aren’t being inspired to do their best work.
- This micromanagement style is getting good consistent results but at what cost?
- I personally don’t like being pushed into things and I don’t think my team does either.
- I feel like quitting and I’ve never quit anything if I felt I was learning and improving.
If you’re reading this blog and think you might be a micromanager then I would suggest reading this short article by Muriel Maignan Wilkins from Harvard Business Review titled “Signs That You’re a Micromanager.”
As the title of my blog suggests, I would like to offer some clear advice I gave myself during this time which helped me to rise above the debilitating micromanagement style I was having to endure.
My Philosophy was to:
- Try to understand what everyone’s challenges and frustrations are and offer my help or insights in dealing with their challenges. I had many years of experience in dealing with challenging people and situations and my executive coaching background came in handy on many occasions.
- Don’t allow petty demands of stressed out people to get under my own skin. There are bigger things in life.
- I can only control my own behavior, don’t allow other people’s high stressed behavior to influence my own.
- Respond in all situations with my full intellect, not my initial emotional response.
- Allow me to feel another’s pressures but don’t feel obligated to take it on and make it my own.
- Have fun and extract some sense of enjoyment from all the daily hilarious emergencies that seem to be driving everyone around me. Keep my eye on my tasks, my responsibilities and those things where I can exert the most positive and productive influence.
- Be Calm, Be Wise, Be FREE!!
In hindsight, I did an awesome job. In the short time I was there I doubled sales from the previous year. I stopped employee fraud. I cleaned up, organized and itemized all physical stock and marketing materials. I created a solid management team, mended client relationships and forged new opportunities to grow in new markets. It was a great learning experience for me and helped me to tick one more thing off my bucket list. That one thing that was always in the back of my mind after all those years creating my own income and running my own companies.
The question, “what would it be like to have a boss besides myself?” Well, I’m happily back to being my own boss.
I suffer from the entrepreneur’s curse of wanting my cake and eating it too. And if you haven’t’ had the chance to go out on your own then I sincerely hope you don’t have a manager constantly looking over your shoulder. There’s more to life than being micromanaged.
Dominic Kotarski – International Consultant | Author | Coach | Trainer | Speaker
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