Supervisory Leadership

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I am looking for information that will help new supervisors learn the differrence between leadership/management and micro-management.

I am looking for information that will help new supervisors learn the differrence between leadership/management and micro-management. I feel that too many times supervisors that are doing their jobs and holding people accountable are accused of being a micro-manager. Can you help?

Let me try to sort this issue out. Part of the problem is with the term "micromanagement" which as come to refer to any close observation of a subordinate's work. I prefer a different definition.

"Micromanagement," in the negative sense, is making choices about a subordinate's work that the subordinate should make for him or her self.

Part of a supervisor's job is making sure that work is done and done correctly. Part of a supervisor's job is training subordinates so those folks can make more correct decisions on their own in the future. Part of a supervisor's job is caring for subordinates and keeping the subordinate's safe.

So, when is it appropriate for a boss to closely supervise a subordinate and, perhaps, make decisions about what will be done and when?

It is appropriate when the subordinate lacks the ability to do the job. In that case, the supervisor's job is to work with the subordinate so s/he can do things correctly in the future. That may involve training, providing additional resources or other activities.

It is appropriate if the subordinate chooses not to do a job they are capable of doing. There are two sub-sets of this case.

Some subordinates choose not to do what they're supposed to and are capable of for reasons that don't have validity to the organization. That would include reasons like, "I don't feel like it." In that case, the supervisor's job is to lay out the consequences of not doing things appropriately and deliver those consequences.

Other subordinates choose not to do what they're supposed to do and are capable of for reasons of confidence. In that case, the supervisor's job is to help the subordinate overcome the confidence issue through lots of small wins and increasingly effective performance by the subordinate.

Those are the cases where, it seems to me, close contol is appropriate.

Wally

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