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Rommel Anacan

Welcome to my blog on MFI! This blog allows me to have an ongoing conversation with multifamily professionals like you. My focus is on helping you and your companies succeed by helping you optimize the quality of your relationships. If you'd like more information about me, my company and the ways that I can help you, please visit my website at www.RelationshipDifference.com

Leadership Tip: Give Up the Addiction to Control

Leadership Tip: Give Up the Addiction to Control

Steve Jobs is famously quoted as saying, "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do." It makes so much sense right? So, why don’t leaders follow this advice? Why do leaders micro-manage? Why do leaders hire smart people then immediately force them into a box and tell them what to do, how to do it, and when to do it ... and then get mad when those people don't "think outside of the box??” 


Something is wrong in today’s work environment. Gallup surveys indicate that 70% of employees are disengaged. In other words, they don’t care! Did you know that 70% of employees that voluntarily leave their jobs do so because of their boss? If you’ve attended any one of my leadership seminars you’ve heard me emphasize these numbers over and over again; but it’s so crucial that you understand what is happening today. Employees are done. They’re over it. And we see the fruit of this all around-and it’s not good fruit!


In the first paragraph I asked the question, “Why do leaders micro-manage people?” Or to paraphrase Steve Jobs’ quote, “Why do we hire smart people and then tell them what to do?” I think this is tied in to our addiction to controlling the world around us. Yep, I said addiction. People are addicted to control. 


Want proof? Just state a strong opinion on any topic of the day on social media and watch how many people tell you you’re wrong. Want more proof? Have you ever commented on other people’s posts telling them they’re wrong? Need more? Have you ever thought, after reading someone else’s posts, “What an idiot!! How could you possibly think that way??” 


When we try to control others we get frustrated when they don’t do things EXACTLY the way we think they should, they feel the frustration from us, which in turns makes them frustrated because no one likes to be controlled, much less be made to feel bad because we don’t like being controlled. We see they’re frustrated with us, which makes us more frustrated and the cycle continues. (Believe me, I know this from experience!)


If you find that you micro-manage your employees you need to break yourself free from the addiction to do so! Here are some things you can do to do so:


Equip your people for success

Micro-managing often occurs when you do not trust your people to do that they need to do. If you don't trust them because they're underperforming you need to ask “why?” If it’s a knowledge gap, help them close the gap between where they are and where they need to be. Suggest training, resources, books, seminars etc. that they can utilize to develop their skill set. Help them create a development program with clear actionable items and specific measurable results and goals that they can use to track their progress. 


In other words do your people have the tools they need to succeed?



If you believe they have the tools they need to succeed, you then need to trust that you’ve trained them well. You can’t manage every outcome, screen every email, or observe every interaction they have with a customer; at some point you have to let go. It’s far easier to let go when you know they have been trained well. 


The other aspect of trust is that there are different ways to get things done. Just because it’s not your way, doesn’t mean it’s not a way. If you’ve clearly defined goals and results, what does it matter how your people get there, as long as they get there?


…but verify

Letting go of micro-managing doesn’t mean letting go of holding your people accountable for the results! So be sure to verify you’re getting the results you need, reinforcing the behavior you want and coaching when the behavior needs improvement. Address performance issues immediately, before they become habits-and make sure you’re just as quick to praise as you are to correct!



When you feel the need to micro-manage and control, pause and don’t say anything (or don’t send that email, don’t text) and allow the moment to pass. Let me give you an example, my wife and I made a decision to allow our daughter to wear basically whatever she chose to school. This means some days she came down from her room looking like a Skittles bag ... and she loved it! We would have to PAUSE and not say anything because we knew it was important for her to express herself creatively, so we let her. BTW: If she was wearing something that wouldn't fly with the dress code, we would then say something. Now that she's older the rainbow array of clothing has calmed down-and she chooses more conventional outfits. I'll admit, I miss some of those wild choices now! I also learned that allowing her to make her choices was empowering for her and us too!


Be curious

If you find that you still really want to control the people you lead, I’d encourage you to block out some time for yourself and just ask yourself “why?” Its amazing how much wisdom and understanding we have access to if we simply stop and pay attention. 

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Leading is much like coaching. Coaches put their players in roles they prefer and in which they have talent, drive and skill. It works.

  Mindy Sharp
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So true! Thanks for reading and sharing Mindy!

  Rommel Anacan

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