Effective Leadership

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

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When it comes down to it, no one likes a micromanager. Yet, it is a complaint that employees virtually everywhere still make. When you consider how the soul of any brand comes from the inside, the importance of a positive company culture, free from complaints of poor managerial style, becomes astonishingly clear.

Countless people have been quoted as summarizing this argument quite well: Steve Jobs, Reed Hastings, and even Tina Fey, all agree that the best managers are the ones that expect great things from their employees and give them exceptional latitude to do so.

Nearly seven out of ten managers find themselves in leadership roles because they're good at their job, not necessarily because they have demonstrated exceptional people management skills. Leadership, then, is something you have to learn along the way.

Having been a newly-minted leader myself, here are a few tips I've discovered on how to be a leader that avoids micromanagement.

Be a security blanket

The foil to a micromanager is the manager who is rarely around and frequently unresponsive. The best managers exist somewhere between the two extremes. Think of the management role like a security blanket. When your team needs you, let them come to you and make sure you're there for them. However, when they've got the confidence to act alone, be okay with taking the back seat.

This approach allows your teams to leverage your experience and skills when they need them most, while creating an environment where they have the support to grow on their own.

Take a step back

Leaders are where they are because they're good at their job, and that likely comes from a certain degree of perfectionism. Not being able to control fine details of projects can be extremely uncomfortable for new managers who have always been known for exceptional performance in their own work.

Elevating leadership beyond "tell them what to do" takes skill. The best employees, however, rarely come from an environment where they're told what to do. Successful teams require a leader that holds teams to results, provides the support to get there, but allows individuals to use their own skills and creativity.

Don't force a square peg in a round hole

In America, many of the largest corporations have been built around manufacturing. In this environment, the focus has to be placed on uniform, consistent processes to achieve results. Companies make mistakes, however, when they apply this same process-first mindset to job roles – like marketing – that require a great deal of creativity and innovation.

Trying to force these roles to fit the same management style as others for the sake of consistency extinguishes creative flair. Share best practices, absolutely! Just avoid the stranglehold of a directed roadmap for every step of a creative's job.

I’m still learning, though. Developing as a leader never really ends. If you have any tips or best practices you’ve learned along the way, we’d love to hear them. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter via @IntrinzicSays.