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  • Writer's pictureLayla Foord

Cracking the Code: Unraveling the Challenge of High Potential Employees Underperforming

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Are you puzzled by a recurring pattern: hiring talented individuals who seem to fall short of expectations? It might be time to delve into your leadership approach.

Do you often find yourself believing that you're the sole capable individual able to execute tasks to your precise specifications, on your preferred timeline? When challenges emerge, you might catch yourself uttering statements such as, "It's because (name) is ineffective; they lack attention to detail," or "I need to manage them constantly." Meanwhile, your culture survey paints a different picture, indicating that your team members often feel adrift, lacking confidence in their performance, and navigating an environment of consistent change, even when things appear stable.

In the pursuit of control, do you frequently become entangled in the intricacies of tasks, losing sight of overarching strategic goals? As a result, you might discover that you're inadvertently repeating instructions and relentlessly striving for completion, all while sacrificing your well-being, personal time, and the capacity to lead with a broader perspective.

Perhaps these resonate with you?

  1. Constant Involvement: Do you find yourself consistently involved in every detail of your team's tasks, even when it's not necessary?

  2. Lack of Delegation: Are you hesitant to delegate tasks, believing that you are the only one who can complete them correctly?

  3. Excessive Monitoring: Do you frequently check in on your team's progress, demanding frequent updates and feeling uneasy when not kept in the loop?

  4. Detailed Instructions: Are your instructions overly detailed, leaving little room for your team to make decisions and exercise their own judgment?

  5. Difficulty Letting Go: Do you struggle to let others take the lead or make decisions, even in areas where they have expertise?

  6. Low Trust: Do you find it hard to trust your team members to perform well without your constant supervision?

  7. Reactive Approach: Do you tend to react impulsively to minor issues, often changing tactics or demanding last-minute adjustments?

  8. Communication Breakdown: Are team members hesitant to share their opinions or concerns due to fear of criticism or rejection?

  9. High Turnover: Have you noticed a pattern of talented employees leaving your team or organization, possibly due to feeling stifled or unappreciated?

  10. Perfectionism: Do you focus excessively on minor details rather than the broader strategic goals and outcomes?

  11. Feeling Overwhelmed: Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the need to oversee every aspect of your team's work?

  12. Unfinished Work: Are you frequently stepping in to complete tasks that your team members were assigned to do?

  13. Little Autonomy: Do your team members seem disempowered, lacking the autonomy to make decisions and contribute creatively?

If you identify with several of these signs, there's a possibility that you might be exhibiting micromanagement tendencies. It's important to remember that recognizing and addressing these tendencies is a positive step towards becoming a more effective and empowering leader.

It’s important to understand how your well intentioned management, might be inadvertently impacting your organisations ability to grow.

Part 1: Systemic Implications of Micromanagement

  1. Lack of Strategy and Clarity: A culture of micromanagement often leads to a lack of strategic direction. If your strategy delves too deeply into the "how" and neglects the "why and what," it's likely just a plan without a true purpose.

    1. Strategy: Reach destination A within timeframe B with constraints C, D & E, and the purpose of achieving X, Y & Z.

    2. Plan: A list of tasks to achieve strategy A, often timelined, preventing innovative solutions and autonomy.

  2. Constant Change in Tactics: Micromanagement leads to a reactive approach, with strategies changing frequently based on micromanagers' whims.

    1. Since you're driving the tasks, changes become frequent. While daily tasks adapt well to your outcomes, your constant involvement feels like you're herding cats.

  3. Confusion and Inefficiency: Ever-changing directions cause confusion, leading to low engagement, stifled innovation, communication breakdown, and high turnover.

  4. Low Employee Engagement: A micromanagement culture erodes trust and engagement among team members.

  5. Stifled Innovation: The need for approval stifles creativity and new ideas.

  6. Communication Breakdown: Micromanagement discourages open communication.

  7. High Turnover: Talented individuals seek empowering work environments.

Part 2: Envisioning a Productive, Innovative Future

Imagine a workplace where your team thrives, innovations flourish, and your business grows. Instead of fearing what could go wrong, embrace what could go right. Imagine spending more time with your family, freed from constant micromanagement.

Part 3: Breaking Free from Micromanagement

Breaking the cycle won't be easy, especially if it's ingrained. Seek help from a coach or mentor, or hire a leader who can help transform your leadership style and your organization. Embrace:

  1. Clear Expectations: Define roles, responsibilities, and goals for autonomy.

  2. Delegation and Empowerment: Trust your team's expertise for decisions.

  3. Outcome Focus: Shift attention to results, encouraging ownership.

  4. Open Communication: Create a space for sharing ideas and concerns.

  5. Constructive Feedback: Offer feedback that promotes development.

  6. Leading by Example: Model trust, autonomy, and collaboration.

  7. Coaching or Training: Invest in refining leadership skills.

Embrace Empowerment for Success

Understanding the systemic implications of micromanagement and breaking free from its cycle are pivotal for your success. Imagine achieving your goals while your capable, empowered team builds and innovates. Rediscover trust and foster a collaborative culture. Contact me to learn more about embracing empowerment for your leadership journey.

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