I’ve been around leaders of organizations for almost 30 years. In that time, I’ve never run into a leader who admitted, “I am a micromanager.” Ironically, though, I’ve routinely encountered people who acknowledge their boss is a micromanager.
There’s obviously either a perception or a self-awareness gap.
This isn’t a phenomenon only present in the business world. Church leaders can fall into this trap as well. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see this trait in leaders of fast-growing churches, particularly those that are still led by their founding pastor.
In the early stages of launch, staying on top of all the details and being involved in every decision can actually lead to success.
The problem is that these same attributes of control will impede growth as the church grows larger.
Unfortunately, not all of these pastors are able to shift their leadership style to meet the changing needs of a growing ministry. And that’s one key reason why churches get stuck.
With that, I wanted to offer some wisdom to help you determine if you are holding on to too much control. Here are…
12 Clues That You Are a Micromanager
You are overwhelmed.
It could be because you are afraid to delegate the big, important projects to others. You don’t, on the other hand, have any issue giving others the boring, routine tasks…until they drop the ball. That’s when you take the tasks back.
You lean on your strong personality to mobilize the team.
For pastors, this is why you feel like you need to teach every week. If you’re not present, there isn’t progress.
Rather than shaping the “what,” you are also compelled to define the “how.”
You tend to dive into the execution rather than focusing on the outcomes.
You can’t unplug and enjoy a weekend or a vacation.
Because you don’t empower others, you are always on call. You are constantly checking your phone for messages. If things are too quiet, you’re checking in with your team.
You feel like you are the only person who can set and monitor your high standards.
You have your facilities manager on speed-dial for every instance you see a spot on the carpet or something out of place. You roam the offices looking for people with messy workspaces.
You have to be involved in every decision.
You want to be cc’d on everything. When your team senses this is the case, they will bring you every decision. That will include all the major decisions where you should be involved, but it will also include all the minor decisions that are wasting your time.
You require employees to submit many, needless reports to monitor their activity.
Again, you’re more focused on how people are using their time. You should be more focused on whether or not the team is winning.
You need to know where everyone is all the time.
If you find yourself watching the parking lot to make sure everyone shows up to work on time, you are the problem. If you get upset that an employee doesn’t answer their phone or immediately respond to your texts, you are the problem.
You feel like you are the only person bringing new ideas to the table.
That’s because you’ve created a culture of fear. People are afraid they won’t meet your exact standards. You’ve trained them to wait for you to tell them what to do and how to do it.
You tell yourself, “It’ll be faster if I do it myself.”
That’s because in the short-run it is faster for you to do it by yourself. It’s also the easiest way for you to maintain control. In the long-run, you will be able to accomplish more as a team if you delegate and empower others.
You don’t have a strategic plan to define what’s important for the future.
Instead, you’re focused on the small details around what’s most urgent. Besides, the more nebulous things are about the future, the more people have to come to you for direction.
You are experiencing high employee turnover.
That’s because high-capacity leaders won’t work for micromanagers for very long.
Want to turn your leadership around? Then here’s some advice to help you move in the right direction:
Ask for feedback.
This might be challenging. High-control leaders typically create fear in their cultures which can suppress honest feedback. Because of that, you might want to consider a 360-degree assessment of your leadership. The Unstuck Group has trained facilitators to help with your team health.
Shift focus to the big picture.
Great leaders work to define the win with their team. They bring focus and clarity. Again, this is another opportunity where we can help. Our strategic planning process will help you define future vision and put an action plan in place.
Learning to delegate and empower others is like learning to walk–just take one small step at a time. Start with a simple task. Define the win, and then get out of the way. Let others determine how the task will be accomplished. You just focus on the results.
Help others win.
The more you focus on the success of others, the easier it will be for you to give up control. Become the coach. Engage conversations and develop plans to help people grow in their leadership. Great leaders learn how to give leadership away to others.
Find some accountability.
Whenever I need to address areas that are not healthy in my life, I’ve learned I need to engage new disciplines and find new accountability. You’ve probably heard me say this before, but leadership is a team sport. You can’t become a great leader on your own. Find someone to hold you accountable and encourage you to take your next steps to give up control.
As I said in the beginning, I’ve never met a leader who admitted he or she was a micromanager, and yet micromanagers abound. Probably because they can’t admit it. Do you need to? This leadership flaw won’t serve your church or the Kingdom well in the long-run.