Two Kinds of People Who Need Micromanagement
Micromanagement is about tediously following up with those you lead to make sure they get the job done. As mentioned in Contagious Leadership, high performers hate it when you micromanage them, but there are two other types of employees who need to be closely managed. If not, they’ll fail and take your team down with them. Even with these two types, micromanagement is best doled out in moderation and for a finite period of time.
It should lead you to satisfaction with that employee’s performance or the decision to “Free them up” for new opportunities to grow…elsewhere.
Here are the two types of employees who need micromanagement:
On day one of a new job, questions from where’s the potty to where do we eat can seem frivolous, but are a vital part of the dipping in the DNA that needs to occur.
Leaders should follow up closely with the new employee ensuring a solid foundation and direction, along with feedback. For the potential high performer, this period of close monitoring should be short. Give them assignments, schedule follow ups and provide detailed feedback as quickly as possible. Don’t leave them to figure it out, even if they ask. This is how bad habits develop quickly and once they’re formed, it can be hard to change them.
Think of a cruise ship that takes off destined for a specific locale. One or two degrees off course will lead that boat somewhere else and once that happens, cruise ships don’t whip on their blinker and make a u-turn in the middle of the ocean. But, if you detect the minor off- course early on, you can quickly correct it and save the time and effort to turn the whole boat around.
When there’s trouble in paradise and you ignore it, it gets worse and then it spreads.
It’s your responsibility as the leader to protect the teams’ results from the one “bad apple” or “weak link” that could destroy all outcomes from their efforts. Micromanaging a problem employee means going back to the basics. Share your expectations as quickly as your employee deviates. Clarify the rewards and expectations for performance and restate what you want from them and what will happen if they continue to choose not to provide it.
Much as you do with the newbies, go back to a shorter time period between “touch base” meetings and follow up. You might consider this a bit tedious, but the goal is to get this team member back on track as soon as you see the off course behavior. They may not be new to the team, but addressing the problem when it is new is imperative to effective leadership. Otherwise, the potential exists that a blinker and entire team and tugboat will be impacted.
It takes time and effort to micromanage employees. However, if performance improvement is what you’re after, it’s worth the investment of time. Without it, you’ll be spending far more time later on in doing “damage control”. It’s likely that your leadership schedule is already tight. Spend the time now and consider it an investment in future results that could provide a big payoff.
Monica Wofford, CSP, is a leadership development strategist, blogger, speaker, and author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear. As the CEO of Contagious Companies, Monica is best known for designing and delivering leadership training programs for managers who were promoted, but not prepared. She and her firm provide training, coaching, and consulting to executives and team members of many Fortune 1000 companies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @monicawofford