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LEADING MAKES FOLLOWING UNNECESSARY

Long time ago…

… when I was a strategy consultant, I had a great assistant. Ingrid was very young and a bit nervous but she always wanted to do her best. Back then, we would often write letters to our clients, and so did I.


leading makes following unnecessary
micromanagement


The process was like that: I would draft a letter. Ingrid would type it, print it and bring it to me for checking. I would check it, make my notes on the printout and give it back to Ingrid. She would type it, print it and bring it again to me… and so it went. Eventually, the letter was perfectly correct, and Ingrid would send it to our client.


One day…

…I though, it doesn’t make sense to continue like that. I mean, we had many documents, presentations, letters, etc. to produce and provide to our clients. All those loops were ridiculous. And the worst thing was, it took lots of time. So, I have suggested the following to Ingrid: From now on, I would draft the document. She would type it and send it to the client. She asked: No checking by you anymore?

No., I responded. I trust that you will do it right.


And she did. It was amazing how well it worked. After a few months, she told me that she was very scared to make a mistake. She knew, that nobody would check the document before she would send it out. At the same time, she felt more responsible, proud that others trusted her and her job became more interesting. She paid more attention to the content now. She felt more important. And she was.


Most of us would like to make an impact. But how?

Some pay attention to details. They want to understand each project. Monitor each activity. Maybe they also love protocols and controlling files about everything…

Others maintain a strategic distance not to lose the big picture. They like to see the complete map or the territory and navigate the whole organization accordingly.

Whichever way you prefer to do it, micro- and macro-management are two completely different animals. The main difference between them is the size of the lever and the distance to the organization that you are trying to move or change, and at the end the impact itself.

When you decide for micro-management, you decide for things, processes, little screws and spreadsheets. You decide to make an impact by mainly doing things yourself: you are the one who decides, who controls, who actually does it at the end. Back in the old days we would say: No one can make copies like I can!

When you decide for macro-management, you decide for people, for trust, for empowerment. You hire the right people, let them take decisions and be entrepreneurs in your organization. You take care of the direction, culture and vision. You simply lead.


ARE YOU TOO MUCH INVOLVED TO BE A LEADER?

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