Support Your Team by Not Micromanaging

micromanaging restaurant
A Honeymoon Tale

Before I share the main subject of this blog post, I want to tell you all a story about my honeymoon. My husband and I went out to a lovely restaurant one evening, and I will forever remember that experience because of the service we received. The waiters were attentive and kind and totally non-intrusive. They would ensure our every need was met and then go off and wait patiently until it was evident they were needed again. I loved their service because there was no micromanaging. 

Have you ever been out to eat and had the opposite experience? Servers constantly badgering at you and hanging around the table, interrupting your experience, and even occasionally being nosy? I don’t particularly appreciate feeling hounded when I get the occasional chance to go out and relax. It truly detracts from the independent feeling of getting away from it all, ‘it’ being life itself. 

Now to my point. My excellent honeymoon service is quite similar to the role that an empowering leader plays. On the contrary, experiencing bad service at a restaurant is very similar to a manager who micromanages. 

Empowerment vs Micromanagement

Micromanagement is when a manager is totally hands-on. Reluctant to let go, the micromanager has to control every step of every process they oversee. No matter how small or mindless the enterprise or activity may seem. Additionally, these types of managers may be bogged down by the fear of failure, insecurity about the future, or the abilities of their team. Perhaps these feelings are founded on personal experience. Undoubtedly, that would be valid. But it does not detract from the direct negative impact that micromanaging has on any organization. 

It is crippling to micromanage people. It crushes their free and independent spirit. Being micromanaged by servers essentially ‘kills the vibe.’ Furthermore, it can reorient a wonderful trajectory the occasion is set on towards an uncomfortable and less than desirable end. The ability to act freely and with independence is precisely how an entrepreneurial spirit is born. That spirit leads to innovation and creative problem-solving, which improve the organization and help the business succeed. 

On the contrary, empowerment means promoting the self-actualization of another’s full potential. The act of empowerment directly correlates to a fertile work environment. Organizations with empowering leaders experience growth within every level of their organization. Above all, Empowering Leaders must trust their team members, allowing them to take risks and fail without fear of retribution. These kinds of leaders are secure in their leadership abilities. 

A Testimony

I recently was speaking with a client about this dichotomy in her own career. She talked about the person she now reports to. Unfortunately, she is now the direct report of a micromanager. This client is currently unhappy due to her manager’s leadership style that inhibits her from performing the way she knows she can. She is comfortable and confident with who she is, how she leads, and her role in her teams’ lives. Yet now, she finds herself under the scrutiny of a boss who wants to coach her in every decision. My client, usually a confident and capable leader, is now suffering from insecurities and anxiety surrounding her work performance. Consequently, she is afraid to act outside the direct view of her manager. 

As a result, my client now feels stuck behind the limitations posed on her from above and on all sides. She is unable to make a move that reflects her individuality and own entrepreneurial spirit. She also feels that she is not progressing in her growth and knowledge as her ability to be a free-moving and independent thinker has been nearly snuffed out. 

Here at Employee Fanatix, we work diligently to eradicate fear from workplaces worldwide. Therefore, how do we avoid tendencies of micromanagement and minimize fear in our people?

A Lesson in Empowerment

The first step for leaders seeking to move completely into the lane of an empowering leadership style is to understand the difference between micromanagement and empowerment fully. The second step is to better understand those you are working with and your shared goals. The third and final step is to prepare yourself to encourage employees in risk-taking, and yes, even failure. 

Here is a list of behaviors required of empowering leaders:

  • Release control
  • Be self-aware of how you are feeling
  • Trust those you hire
  • Trust your recruitment capabilities
  • Believe that everyone has gifts that can help team performance

For a more detailed lesson in empowerment, I advise that you visit the Caring Leadership Academy where there is an entire course on this subject. Additionally, I also have a supplementary blog post that goes hand-in-hand with this one; read that article here. 

155: Leaders with Heart Exhibit Ownership

Subscribe to the Leadership with Heart Podcast:

In this episode, Heather interviews Dave Sims, CEO of Floify, the industry’s leading mortgage automation platform. Dave is an example of a humble leader, one who recognizes that his leadership journey has no end. We discuss his development within his company and the crucial leadership lessons he learned along the way that he incorporates into his everyday. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Leaders take ownership for the whole company. 
  • If there are problems on the front lines, take ownership and seek a resolution.
  • Your leadership journey has no end. 
  • Create a sense of belonging within your organization. 
  • Leaders learn to become less involved, so others can learn and excel.

As a veteran fintech software engineer, one of Dave Sims‘ many passions is identifying inefficiencies within industries and developing technology solutions that streamline common workflow processes and alleviate IT security concerns.

After developing and launching Flux, a software platform designed to manage file transfers and batch processing workflows for the banking and finance industries, Sims’ focus later transitioned to the mortgage space. Having been inspired by his personal experiences with acquiring a mortgage, Sims set out to build a solution that would not only enhance the security of exchanging and managing sensitive borrower documents, but also make the process far more efficient.

Floify, the industry’s leading mortgage automation platform, was the outcome of this effort.

Since launching Floify in 2013, Sims has led his company from a simple self-funded and customer-funded concept into a robust loan origination solution that now supports more than 2,000,000 users via mobile and cloud-based digital mortgage offerings.

Today, Floify remains unmatched in the level of functionality, flexibility, security, and service offerings it provides to mortgage originators, borrowers, real estate agents, partners, and other loan stakeholders. Despite numerous competing point-of-sale solutions that have entered the market in recent years, Floify has withstood the test of time through Sims’ leading-edge technology, massive suite of third-party integrations, a pricing model that puts the customer first.

As CEO of Floify, Sims continues to lead his robust team of software engineers, security experts, account executives, marketing professionals and other staff, and explore new partnerships with fellow industry leaders to ensure the solutions his company develops remain on the leading edge of technology.

Support and Success

We started so small, seven and a half years ago, and we were up to about 40 folks now. So, I am cruising along my leadership journey and still trying to learn so much. I definitely suffered from imposter syndrome but I am trying to do it right. 

It took me forever to tease out the difference between customer support and customer success. That evolved and it’s always evolving. I feel like every nine months or so, our company becomes a brand-new company all over again. You’ve got to adjust and reorder sometimes. 

It's just really fun to try something new and see if it's going to work out. – @FloifyDave #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Ownership and Trust

We have a thing called ownership and trust. Every new employee who comes on board on the first day read a pretty short article I wrote a year or two ago called “Ownership Interests.” What that really means is everyone owns their own place within the company. As they execute well their work with their teammates, their sphere of trust grows. So, they can take on more and more things in from time to time.

When I was working for someone else, I also wanted to own that piece of the business I was involved in. It feels great that you want to be in charge of your own destiny there. You want those responsibilities, and to carry it along. So, I have no interest in trying to take that away from folks who work here. Some people call it micromanagement. Nobody wants that right. Everyone wants to run their part of the business. Some do really well, grow, and expand that sphere. Some people don’t want it to be bigger. So we try to accommodate all different types.

It’s still quite amazing how many responsibilities different folks at the company have to take on because you’re still only 40 people, yet there’s thousands upon thousands of customers will need. 

In the past, and I still do today, I want customers to have like the perfect experience when they’re going through something. Previously, it was harder for me to let go to micromanage. I’d want every single interaction to be perfect, and I was too involved. Over time we got bigger and I slowly realized that I’ve got to become less involved. If someone doesn’t lay down like this awesome great experience, I’m starting to learn it’s really my own fault—maybe I didn’t give this person enough training, or maybe we didn’t have enough weekly practice sessions, or I didn’t empower them enough.

A lot of us get nervous, and aren't confident in certain situations—I think it's totally normal. – @FloifyDave #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

If a customer doesn't get an experience up to the standard of what I would want to give, that's really my fault. – @FloifyDave #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Trying Something New

I wanted to try something new, so I started a company a software company 21 years ago. It’s still going strong, and Floify spun out of that company back in 2013. I have zero background and mortgages. I refinanced my home here in Boulder and I used a local lender. Just going through the process, I thought, “Oh, my goodness, this could be so much better.” How much fun, would it be to try to build software that would make the work lives of like the lenders and make the personal lives of the borrowers better. I thought it would be an incredibly fun journey. But I had no clue whether it would turn out well or not. We almost walked away from Floify. But we made the bet to keep going.

I remember in the seventh grade I sold bubble gum to my classmates. My mom would take me to the store to buy out all of the bubble gum and I’d sell it. My spirit is always been entrepreneurial.

Everyone owns their place within the company. As they execute their work with their teammates well, their sphere of trust grows. – @FloifyDave #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I'm always thinking about how can a prospective new team member or someone who's been with us for a year or two continue to grow within the organization. – @FloifyDave #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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