Micromanagement Destroys Trust: Finding Better Ways to Lead
Micromanagement messes up a lot of things, period. As a result, it disrupts workflow and kills creativity among your workforce and shows anyone, including those in a management position, that as an executive you don’t trust your teams to manage their time. Micromanagement is a clear sign that an authority figure within any company lacks trust in their teams.
Remote work has become a significant reality and a viable option for many parts of the insurance industry’s workforce. It is a reliable alternative to working within the office. While I prefer physically going into the office and the comradery that can result from spending time with people, it has undeniable benefits when considering what we all have been and are still going through in relation to the current pandemic.
Many believed that remote work would result in diminishing productivity–resulting from employees failing to perform essential tasks and assignments outside the watchful eyes of supervision. When we were forced to work from home due to exposure to COVID-19, I had no doubt our teams could and would perform admirably because that’s what I hired them to do.
Many insurance companies and businesses from all sorts of different spaces, at the beginning of this outlyer of a year, found themselves not equipped to take on the remote workplace. The insurance industry has adapted and learned to use current technologies to communicate in ways many never thought they would have to. We learned how to fully utilize video conferencing and project management software to most effectively communicate with our clients and our team in those circumstances.
This technology, while powerful and potentially very efficient, can be a double-edged sword if we allow some of our previous feelings concerning remote work to creep in. The fact is that, given proper usage, remote management and communication technologies give executives even more access and opportunities to monitor, assess and comment on a team’s work It may manifest in managers needing daily check-ins or meetings to check progress, offering advice more often than needed or the eventual incorporation of added monitoring software–in the extreme.
Micromanagers will try to micromanage no matter the environment, and their teams will suffer regardless. This message is more for those that find themselves more frequently in the remote workplace and find it slightly new, if not uncomfortable and lean towards those micromanagement tendencies because you have not fully adjusted to some if not all of your employees working outside the physical office. It is new and takes some getting used to when many of your positive leadership practices were based in face-to-face encouragement, counseling and simply being part of your workforce.
Luckily, you can employ some good practices to reduce the risks and the negative outcomes that micromanagement can bring about.
Staying on schedule for projects matters, obviously, but ensuring your teams and your leaders have autonomy to achieve those targeted goals through methods that suit their skill sets by trusting them and their skills it not only builds that trust but will result in bolstered confidence, which will allow them to take on greater responsibilities in the future.
While autonomy matters, maintaining systems of accountability are essential, especially when outside the traditional office environment. Ensuring that those systems of encouragement are kept up and adhered to is paramount. Employing time management and scheduling software like Monday will allow your teams to accurately schedule their necessary tasks without the need to micromanage.
Conversations don’t have to be in person. In insurance, as in recruiting, many conversations happen on the phone or over email, or now over video conferencing applications like Zoom. Continue to trust your teams to make the decisions you hired them to make, but if a team member relays a problem, they are having or you see an issue arise, use these inroads to talk to them and determine how you as a boss can help them remove any obstacle to their continued progress and development.
Point to Purpose
Leadership that uses reward and punishment doesn’t work when we are trying to find innovative solutions to new and usual situations. For insurance and many other spaces, 2020 has been very new and unusual. Instead, leaders need to connect the work their teams do to a greater purpose. Making that goal visible and showing how achieving that goal will affect the greater world outside the company and the team can do wonders to build self-drive and passion for the work.
The James Allen Companies know that the insurance industry is vital to the continued function of our society as a whole, covering those unexpected costs and addressing many potential risks that come with stepping out your door. As the traditional workplace and the remote workplace both offer their own unique challenges, we will continue to provide the insurance industry talent that will allow your business to meet them all head-on.