Leadership and team building, birds leaving a cage


When most people think about leadership, they focus mostly on the first 4 letters of the word, LEAD – meaning to be in front of everything and by proxy to be in control, giving orders and having people follow your every command. However, we now know that true leadership – whether you are a president, a CEO or a manager managing a team of 2 – is really about giving up control.

It’s about empowering people so that they can grow into their full potential, it’s about taking all the blame and none of the credit, and leading through action and example. When you lead by seeking to control, the effects can be devastating and, more often than not, take a while to show up, which is why many organisations prefer micro managers as they appear to run a tight ship. In the short term, this may produce results but in the long run – beware.

So why is micro-managing so dangerous?

3 Reasons Micro-Management is Dangerous

It reduces innovation

To thrive in today’s challenging world, where disruption abounds, requires more agility and thinking on your feet than ever before! We’re no longer screwing caps onto toothpaste, this is not the industrial age anymore. The thing about innovation is it needs freedom and trust to exist and cannot be solely left up to the executive board or the CEO. Your team is your greatest source of innovation, they know how the customers’ needs are changing, and how the world around them is changing, likely better than you do. However, if you erode trust through micro-managing they will be afraid to try new things and therefore afraid to innovate and your competition will beat you every time.

Did we mention trust?

Trust is an interesting factor at the heart of why we do many things. Micro-managing erodes trust and reduces morale. If you hired them because they were capable – get out of their way and let them have room to deliver. And yes, let them make mistakes because that’s the only way we learn and improve.

High turnover

Talented people don’t want to come to work every day feeling like herded sheep, and your people are your most valuable asset. Happy teams treat clients well, and the quickest way to create an ‘unhappy’ team is to monitor their every move, chastise them for being 10 minutes late to work when they leave late daily and generally only ‘catch’ them doing bad things.

A Gallup study concluded that companies with higher-than-average employee engagement also had 27% higher profits, 50% higher sales, and 50% higher customer loyalty. An empowered team is a confident team, happy to go the extra mile to make customers happy and not afraid to put forth new ideas that will grow your business.

In a volatile time for South Africa, a happy loyal team is your secret sauce. So – if you want results then pick the right team, provide the right training, tools and support and allow them the freedom to be engaged and fulfilled thereby delivering above par. It’s not easy- but it’s worth it.

You don’t have to walk this journey alone. If you are struggling to relinquish control, get in touch with me for more in-depth tools and strategies on how to achieve this outcome

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