Leadership – How to Manage Micromanaging

Good Morning!

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In my past experiences, I heard and see that some kid compliant about many rules that set-up by my family. They told you not to do this-that, we have a family rules, must earn good score, must become a success people, etc. I think this is happen also in the other family. Parents set up a rules for kids and sometimes over protective and become a boss to direct them to goals that parents want. They become suspicious for any action you did and disobey the rules or standard.

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There are two impact for these situation. First, your kid follow you and become golden kid (as you wish for) or they turn become someone else that opposite of your wish. Even kids turn into golden kids or opposite, deep inside, they’re complaint about it. Parents become over-look, over-protective, etc.

Similar with your team in the office. Sometimes I saw a team leader / head department, become very detail on managing people. They want to know the team action, even every hours. I can not say it’s good or bad, since it related with your leadership style. But, in general situation, it’s not working well, especially with big number of team member.

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E.g. as a leader, you have 50 team, with 5 supervisor direct report to you. If you always asking the supervisor everything that you want, as perfect as your wish for, your energy will be drain out quickly for managing and organizing internal matter. It’s not good, since people around you, especially other team leader or even CEO, will see how big your support to company’s strategic target. Let say, on KPI, you will have high score on managing people, but low score on employee engagement or coordination with other peoples. Why? Because, currently, most company have a big score on employee engagement index.

After 2 examples, do you got my point?

I  give you another, your self.

Let say you are a fresh graduate, just having a first job. Assume, you learn many tips for financial planning and want to retire before age 40. Then, you set-up a goals, like using only 50% after tax of your income for monthly consumption and the other 50% for saving and investment, stay low profile, using old house/car, etc. Maybe some of you asking, can it be happen? Yes, there are some peoples from USA, commit to be low profile and saving 50-70% of their after tax income, even their annual salary less than USD 150.000. Then, they retire before age 40 with total assets USD 2 million, just from saving (maybe a little bit investment).

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Okay, lets back to this case. Assume in the first 3 years, you will set-up your own standard, micro managing your income vs expense, until it become unity in your blood and not as an additional job. Then, after you know the path and deals with that, you are now using micro manage income vs budget again. Its like a system that automatic give you alarm if beyond the standard.

I give you another example, as an entrepreneur. Assume you’re leave the company to set up a new business. You develop a new business and not buy a franchise.

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Okay, it’s very hard for many peoples, including my self. Less than 20% will succeed after trying over and over again. Okay, let say that you have set up a system for this business. Then, in first 2 years, you need to micro managing a system, people, resources, until it running by their self. What about for next step? It’s not necessary to do micro managing again if you have a confident on your system. The next step is develop the business by open new branch or make it bigger first.

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Okay, so what should we do for? In my opinion, rather than always micro-managing your process, you must focus on the target it self. As an independent consultant, I got similar questions here. Micromanaging is a good action, but only with several condition.

  1. New set-up, within first 1-12 months.
  2. Have a huge bad condition / fall. E.g. fall of oil price, low global economic, etc.
  3. Re-focus on original target and only biggest risk.

Based on my experiences, there are several point to be thinking of. Let say that you want to create a new business, a start-up company, using combination of food and technology (as same as South Korea did).

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1. Set-up your goals, create a strategic road maps with SMART objective. You can using LEAN, SIG Sigma, or even simple chart, to show  if I want to achieve my target, what kind of action needed and how big/long to achieve it. On set-up a target, you need to think of your self / business for long term period and divided into smaller action point. E.g. You have 10 years plan, then divided into 5 years (medium), 1 years (short), and semester (very short). Let say 10 years plan is go international and develop 2 international branch, 5 years plan is develop 2 new local branch, 1 year plan is develop internal set-up and local market.

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2. Based on road map, smart objective, and business process, mapping your biggest risk. Let say, your biggest risk are peoples, resources, and IT. On peoples, you need a person who know the business and experience on the market. On resources, you want to use more local things. On IT, you need a good system that can make customer’s life easier.

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3. Micro manage your process and focus on biggest risk – people, resource, and IT. How to do this at first time? First, find the right people to join on your boat. These people must be fit with your company’s culture and target, not only see his high salary or hard-skill. When you find these person, they will commit with the team work. Second, always communicate your road map, and smart objective. Make them involve on the development of road map, if necessary. If they have any input about road map, listen and understand it first before reject it. Third, create a solid team work, even on cross-function/department. Use a 360 degree of feedback and let them think strategically not as silo box. Forth, After solid team work, they need to give good level of authority and decision making. Make them as a part of company, assume that they own the company. It will make them think on every plan and action. Fifth, decision making will lead to ownership and link the result with good KPI. You can use balance scorecard or in simple way, using indicator that can align between performance, biggest risk, and company’s target.

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4. Let it flow. After several months or year of micro-manage, let it flow automatically. You only need to review high aspects on quarterly basis, while for detail aspects leave it with your team member.

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Leading by example is first step on every leader. Show but not micro manage them. Remember, they are human that need a space to creative and innovative.

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Happy day and see you on next articles!

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You can read another article as follow.


Growth Strategies – How to Stop Micromanaging Your Team
Five creative solutions to keep employees accountable.

By Marcus Erb, April 2016


Holding employees accountable to their assigned tasks without micromanaging is a classic workplace dilemma that can be difficult to navigate.

The leaders of some of the best workplaces have turned the challenge on its head by building environments where people actually seek accountability and act as owners of the business, in turn eliminating the need for you to hover over them. As evidence, consider that 90 percent of employees in the organizations included in our 2010 Great Place to Work Rankings: Best Small & Medium Workplaces report believe management trusts them without looking over the shoulder and 92 percent say they are given a lot of responsibility. The report was released last September with Entrepreneur.

How have they accomplished this? Here are five insights from their approach to resolve a classic problem:

  1. Commit to hiring the right people. It’s much easier to create a culture of accountability with accountable people. At RadioFlyer, the famous maker of children’s wagons, accountability is a core value central to finding new employees. Prospective job candidates are screened on whether they proactively seek needed information and feedback, and whether they strive to accomplish team goals. The company remains doggedly loyal to this value, going so far to keep positions open for more than a year if they are unable to find an ideal match between the candidate, the culture and the position. Additionally, all 55 of RadioFlyers’s employees, hiring managers and the executive team receive training on the selection process annually.
  2. Make people accountable to each other. There is nothing like peer pressure to drive behavior. At Bridge Worldwide, a Cincinnati-based digital and relationship marketing agency, employees are given the chance to give anonymous feedback to various teams in a quarterly satisfaction survey and an annual benefits opinion survey. Through these regular audits, employees have the chance to give genuine feedback on performance from other departments as it relates to their job. The goal is to create a productive community culture.
  3. Clearly and frequently articulate expectations. Entrepreneurs often find themselves micromanaging their staffs when they don’t adequately communicate their expectations. Employees at Hoar Construction, a construction management firm, are evaluated twice annually, and receive personal, detailed feedback. New tracking measures, goals and developmental needs are determined during these evaluations. The frequency is even greater at FatWallet, the Illinois-based online discount clearinghouse, where employees and managers set “Key Performance Indicators” at the beginning of each quarter to re-evaluate goals, progress and successes/failures.
  4. Give employees decision-making power. Your employees are much more likely to “own” their work when they help create or have a voice in what they’re doing. Bridge Worldwide puts many decisions to a company vote or suggestion. An example of this was the process of naming its conference rooms. Employees were asked to nominate a 20th-century icon who embodied the company’s values. Based on these nominations and subsequent votes, the company now has rooms named after the people who inspire the dynamic culture — including Henson (Jim), Parks (Rosa), Einstein (Albert), DiMaggio (Joe) and Coltrane (John).
  5. Give them an ownership stake. If you want employees to work like they own the company, then give them a stake in the game. For example, at Hilcorp, a sense of ownership is instilled through its long-term incentive “Buy-in Compensation Plan.” Through this plan, the Houston-based energy company grants each full-time employee phantom participation interests in company projects (which essentially are stocks, except they are for a particular product or project, not the overall company). Employees also have the opportunity to buy additional interests using either their money or by taking advantage of company loans. Employees received cash distributions totaling more than $130.7 million between 1997 and 2008.

    It’s a large investment, and one that has paid dividends several times for the company. For example, when Hurricane Ike and Gustav disrupted 90 percent of the company’s operations, Hilcorp employees scrapped together to secure scarce services, equipment and personnel which expedited repairs and allowed Hilcorp’s oil and gas fields to get back on-line months prior to other operators in the area.

Striking the right balance between empowerment and accountability is not easy. But small business owners who set the right tone will enjoy the benefits of greater employee initiative and innovation, as well as the freedom to transition from managing to leading.











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