I was having breakfast with a friend the other day and we started to talk about work, our good and bad experiences and everything that comes with them.
My friend said something that stuck in my mind: 'I only have to look at my old manager's LinkedIn profile to realise how lucky I am in my current job. The look of her face makes me appreciate what I have and what I do.'
It was funny and sad at the same time.
The main problem as she described it was that she was micro-managed.
The manager wanted everything done her way. She would clearly tell everyone that she wanted a report by Friday 11am, but she still expected everyone to prioritise the report and complete it before doing any other tasks. Of course, this led to conflict and communication issues.
The manger's team would get the report delivered on time and she would then let them know she was annoyed about getting it on Friday at 11am instead of immediately. She gave people a choice and then didn't accept that they had different working styles and different priorities.
Modern management styles often focus on tolerance, empowerment, acceptance and collaboration.
A collaborative business requires a different kind of leader: a leader who builds up a good team based on trust and less micro-managing.
When we dare to tolerate people who are different we do the world a favour. Empowering everyone creates diversity and new ideas. Micro-management gets you a team of robots who never think for themselves.
You will never hear a leader say 'let's focus on the small picture'.
A more entrepreneurial approach to problems and threats will challenge your current strategy and maybe your whole existence. To dare to do that you need to learn to let go more often.
To show that you care about your team you need to let them know that it's okay to be who they are and that you appreciate their uniqueness. This can be challenging if you aren't aware of your own behaviour and how it affects the people around you.
A leader without self-awareness is not going to be a successful modern leader. You need to be able to assess yourself and your leadership style to understand how you can inspire people and why you might clash with certain individuals. Conflicts will always arise, and that's ok. What matters is that you care about other people even if there is a bit of tension between you.
It's hard to share your wisdom and knowledge with your team if you don't know how to share it through kindness. There is a lot of information around and when people respect each other's differences they are more likely to listen to each other.
Respect and recognition is something that everyone needs and when we feel we get it we are more likely to collaborate.
We don't all have to think and act in the same way to show respect and care for each other.
In the case of my friend's micro-managing boss it might have been too late to fix the problem because the trust was already terribly damaged.
Without trust it's hard to expect loyalty from either your employees or customers.
We need to remind ourselves that we must appreciate people just the way they are as often as we can. It's not easy, as we tend to think 'my way is the right way'.
Trust is gained over time; there is no quick fix. When a person is always expressing that she or he distrusts you then it leaves room for self-doubt and it sets you up for failure and disengagement. In that kind of environment the micro-management leadership style will flourish.
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