Just when you thought you encountered the worst of them, new threats to your organization appear. You survived Perfectionist Predators, Ungrateful Ghouls, Disappearing Demons and Blaming Beasts. However, before you get too comfortable, there are two other types of leaders who present dangers to your organization. In this final chapter of the Lethal Leadership series, we encounter Micromanaging Monsters and Vision Vampires.
Micromanaging Monsters want to know every single detail of all team members’ projects. Seeming to have thousands of eyes and the ability to appear at several places at once, they aim to keep a firm grip on all functions of their team.
They live off of control. Micromanaging Monsters feed on the capacity to dominate over every step of each task assigned to the team. Their perception of their own worth in the organization is directly proportional to the amount of involvement they have in each of their team members’ duties.
Micromanaging Monsters lack trust. Even if they hired all the members of their group, they still do not believe in their ability to successfully complete their assignments independently. Ultimately, their inability to let go and have faith in their colleagues often backfires. It calls into question their own judgement. If they hired those specific individuals to perform in their roles, they should rely on their own decision and be confident that their team members will perform their duties thoroughly and successfully.
What Micromanaging Monsters do not realize is that through delegation, they could grow even more powerful. Their followers sometimes spend more time updating their supervisor on the project than actually working on the project itself. Fully entrusting their team members opens up time for all involved. If Micromanaging Monsters concentrated more on inspiring instead of ruling, they likely would find their own productivity as well as that of their team would improve. This blind spot prevents them from the greatness they desire.
What if you’re a Micromanaging Monster?
Do the traits of Micromanaging Monsters sound familiar and a little too close to home? Here are words of wisdom from professional coaches that can help you can transform out of that micromanaging mode.
- Let Others Win
“Micromanaging is often rooted in an impulse to deliver the win. Many leaders began as rising stars and still get a charge out of being the one to find the solution. It can be tempting to indulge this habit, but stepping in front of the team sends a message that you don’t believe they are capable of completing the objectives.”
Stacey Staaterman of Stacey Staaterman Coaching & Consulting
- Create a Fail-Forward Culture
“Perfectionism is often one of the reasons behind micromanaging. If you want your team to learn and grow, you must allow them a certain amount of autonomy. Allow your team to learn through failure and openly discuss lessons learned. By adopting a fail-forward attitude, your team will achieve success much faster. Your job is to act as a coach. To develop others, you must guide, not steer.”
Erin Urban of UPPSolutions, LLC
- Expectations Over Task
“Managers usually spend a decent amount of time telling their teams what needs to be done. Sometimes what needs to be done and what is expected are different. Effective leaders will do their best to ensure each individual member of a team knows what is expected. Once everyone is in sync with expectations, there is no need to micromanage. It is about outcomes, not activity.”
Donald Hatter of Donald Hatter Inc.
Micromanaging Monsters love to dominate the details. In so doing, they put those they lead on the fast track to burnout or the nearest exit out of the organization.
Like your run-of-the-mill vampires, Vision Vampires only survive in the dark. However, instead of the dark of night, Vision Vampires like to operate without a light on the organization’s vision.
They do not share the mission of the company with their team. As leaders, they are not only aware of the business’ direction but they also were likely directly involved in its formation.
Not outlining the vision of the company give Vision Vampires the impression that they have a stronger upper hand in their relationship with their subordinates. The access to this knowledge reinforces their sense of superiority. They feel more established in their position of power and, if so inclined, can direct others toward their own agenda.
Even worse, they neglect to show their team members how their specific roles are a part to the big picture of the organization. Vision Vampires rob those they lead of insight… insight of the direction of the organization, insight of how their individual part contributes towards the overall success of the company and insight of ways they can continue to develop and strive in the direction of their professional goals.
What if you’re a Vision Vampire?
According to folklore, a silver bullet or a stake through the heart will end the life of a vampire. Thankfully, preventing yourself from being a Vision Vampire is much easier (and less gruesome).
- Include Everyone.
For your company to reach its established vision, all team members must play their parts. The best way for that to happen is to ensure every one throughout the organization knows and believes in the vision. With this in their sight, they’ll know ways they can contribute their knowledge and skills to make this vison a reality.
- Take the Time.
A vision is not something easily established. It requires creative and strategic thought, focus and energy, but it is worth the investment. Set time in your team’s schedule to form a parallel vision, a department vision that corresponds and supports the company’s overall vision. Involve everyone on your team to contribute their thoughts. The more you include everyone in the process, the more buy-in and commitment they will have to the vision.
- Release the Fear.
Establishing a vision is a bold move and brave step. Some procrastinate the process because building a vision leads to setting goals. It encourages an environment that includes accountability. All of this can stir up a fear of failure. Instead of worrying about falling short, work together to envision ways to fly high.
Vision Vampires drain team members of their ability to connect with the mission, their motivation to contribute their best and their desire to engage with the organization.
There’s no need to fear encountering these professional monsters. Throughout your career, you’re bound to run across at least one. Being able to identify them, you can better understand them and adjust. At some point, you may even start to turn into one. The good news is you can halt the transformation and avoid being one of the maniacal monsters of Lethal Leadership.