Take the ‘I’ Out of Micromanager
If you want a job done right you have to do it yourself.
You know the phrase. To some degree it’s true. It does take longer to train employees to do something than it is to simply do it yourself. In fact, if you’ve hired employees,you know that a certain amount of directing is essential. After all you need to know the respective strengths and weaknesses of your staff. Furthermore you need to have a commitment to them so you’re constantly helping them to improve and grow.
Certainly employees need to know that you care about getting things done on time and in the right way. But when exactly does the positive leadership trait of attending to the details become problematic micromanaging?
Sometimes you need to let go of things and allow people to find their own way. Yes, mistakes might happen but these also are great opportunities for employees to learn and develop new skills. These can be times for finding new and better ways of doing things too.
If you are doing too much handholding, is it because that employee is not capable? What kind of training do they need to gain the job know-how to do the work you’ve given them to do? Or, if you’ve been coaching that team member enough, is it time to think about termination?
Letting go of projects can be a fearful experience. As a leader you may fear losing control, losing face, and ultimately losing your business. It’s likely that you are dealing with these fears by using strategies that have worked in the past…like self-reliance. Not knowing any better you may be overly controlling. Or trying so hard to avoid being controlling that you don't communicate clearly what's expected.
Pay attention to which projects you spend the most time checking. Then ask yourself whether you have given the employee(s) responsible for these aspects of the practice a chance to prove their capabilities.
Call me naïve, but my experience in business is that most employees really want to do a good job. In most cases, if a team member isn't doing a good job it’s often because they don't know how.
Think about what kind of instruction is necessary. Is there a way to give less information about ‘how’ you want it done and more clarity about the outcome you expect? In this way, you empower employees to find solutions to issues themselves. Then give positive feedback. Successful leaders notice what employees do right, and give them immediate recognition for doing a good job.
Not everyone works the same way. Your hygienist may be someone who is creative and spontaneous but not a morning person. She’s terrific with patients and generates a lot of revenue for the practice. It could be mutually beneficial to adjust her hours.
It’s important to pick your battles. You can’t go to war on every issue. Focus on the things that are most crucial for your success. Adapting to someone else's needs goes against the grain of most of us but it's easier if you focus on the goal you want to achieve.
That said, keep in mind that some employees want more direction while others need to be left alone. The key is to know what each member of your team needs to perform at his/her best.
Micromanagement is not the sign of a healthy leader. It does take time in the short term to train the employees, but it is so worth the time commitment in the long run. You’ll end up with more time in your day to devote to dentistry, and your employees will be more productive when freed from your hovering. The improvement in team morale yields big pay-offs…for your staff and your bottom line!
If you want to make the transition from micromanager to successful leader, contact Dr. Haller at email@example.com.
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