As an entrepreneur, I’m always looking for the best ways to work and improve my own and my employees’ work outcomes.
What can be made more effective? What technology can I leverage to improve existing systems that haven’t been updated in a while? What can I update in my own practices regularly?
Usually, as a CEO of an HR solutions and software as a service (SaaS) organization, my mind goes to the technical aspects of my work first: improving soft skill assessments to automate applicant filtrations, developing a brand-new way to find pre-verified candidates who are looking for work, finding new ways to discover an applicant’s suitability for a job before hiring them, the list goes on.
But what about my own practices, as a manager?
As leaders in our businesses, we often overlook or misunderstand our positions of power and what influence we have on others, particularly those who work under our supervision.
This is something that has driven me to continue to work in leadership positions my whole career: the ability to help and mentor others to find ways to work best and be the most successful in their positions than ever before.
But how do you know if you’re under- or over-doing it? How do you know if you’re becoming a micro-manager?
What is micro-management?
I feel that it’s inherent in being a leader that a friend or family member has at least once in your lifetime told you to stop “micro-managing”.
It’s a characteristic most are born with—one that comes naturally to you and can define your personal predisposition in a certain context, particularly in settings with groups of people and a task at hand.
You can’t help but get involved and start taking the reins. It’s what you’re best at and what you love most.
But what sets good managers apart from micro-managers is their ability to trust in their employees.
That means asking your employees for constant updates to the extent where they feel anxious or overwhelmed with how much you’re overlooking their work.
It also means you’re overlooking the big picture: because you’re so overwhelmed in the smaller details—making sure you’ve been cc’d on every email, having to approve every small detail in your employees’ work—that you’re missing out on what really matters to the business.
From losing sight on larger-scale goals and overlooking details that really matter to you and your organization as a whole, you could be missing out on a lot by getting caught up in micro-management.
As well, you can lose employees’ trust and honesty with you if you continue perpetuating a cycle of fear and harsh, nit-picky criticism.
Instead, let’s focus on the good you can do for a company and its employees—how you can manage on a less micro scale, if you will.
The recipe for success
For managers and executives of all kinds, the technical skills are perhaps the most expansive.
These differ depending on your industry, but include all the hard skills you need to understand your organization and do what’s best for it, including making executive choices on branding, hiring, partnerships, pricing, and so on.
Maybe you need to know at least a bit of coding, or have good skills as a copywriter.
These are expected skills to have at the level of an executive. But what’s more overlooked are one’s human and conceptual skills.
For managers and those in other executive positions, human skills are an absolute must.
From hiring and letting go of employees, even ones who’ve been with the company long-term or are in a high-up position, to fostering healthy, productive work environments, human skills are what keeps the people around you happy, efficient, and well, around you.
And while these, along with one’s conceptual skills—that is, skills you use every day to assess, diagnose, and problem-solve in your organization—are the most common ones that recur in daily life as a manager.
This could be in the way you analyze data to interpret how the company is doing, or thinking critically to examine current friction points and how to create a solution that does not exist using technology or techniques that do.
Maybe you have them and use them daily without even thinking. But surely if you didn’t have them, you’d notice, right?
Self-assess for self-progress
I’ll be frank, I’ve seen a lot of good and a lot of bad management in my time as a recruiter and as an employer.
Sure, you can be the one who comes up with the award-winning idea for a company.
You can even have the most qualifications to run that company, or the most technical skills to work in the industry.
But sometimes, it boils down to a good worker being in the wrong position—namely, in management, one with lots of responsibility, stressful tasks, emotionally-draining duties, and a position of power. Sometimes, a job just isn’t for you.
It may clash with your natural predisposition, your personality, your tendencies as a worker, and your philosophies as an individual in the workplace.
And that’s okay; it just means you need to find a job that does respond to your personality traits and tendencies, and allows you to fully achieve your greatest potential in the workplace and hopefully feel happiest and most fulfilled.
And at the end of the day, what’s best for you will always be best for your team, as well.
If you’re falling into a cycle of micro-management because you’re unable to manage in ways other than being a micro-manager, your team will be appreciative of you being self-aware and understanding that you ultimately what’s best for them and the organization as a whole.
So, put your skills to the test
Determine if you’re suitable for your position in management and executive functions by taking soft skills tests, like Packfinder, a soft skills and career assessment that uses psychometrics to measure your potential as a manager.
In fact, Packfinder can determine your potential in 60 unique job functions, so if you’re not cut out for management and the stress (but also the fulfillment) that come with the job, you can discover which positions you are suited for.
Take the assessment by signing up for a complementary Workwolf account. Then, share it with your employees to establish benchmarks for future hires.
Try it out for free here.