Leaders would do well to understand that micro-managing is like the helicopter parent who is seemingly disapproving of all that their team members do.
I was trying to relate this one to my own personal experience and found it so relevant that I chose to share with you some insights that I gained.
This was about 30 years back when my wife and I were dating. Being brought up in a conservative family environment where all decisions in your life were taken by parents, was blasphemous, to say the least. Those were the days when parents thought that all that they did was in the best interests of the family and they were always ‘right’.
They were disapproving of our relationship and did all in their power to stop us from seeing each other. That included, for my poor partner being locked up for days at home to character assassination of yours truly to extremes like threats to disown us.
The interesting thing about all these attempts was that the more they did of these, the closer and tighter we became in our relationship. We started to find immense strength from each other’s company and felt like having the power to take on the world. There was something very unnerving of about parents meddling in their children’s affairs that appeared to motivate us kids to rebel.
I realized that the more I was told to refrain from doing something, the more resolute I became in continuing. The idea became more and more appealing to me and my partner.
The lesson here is that talking more and offering suggestions often were counterproductive and had low success rates. Isn’t it similar to smokers still continuing to smoke despite all the graphic pictures and symbols shown on the pack? I am sure you can relate to this when anyone tries to hard sell you an idea and the way you dig in your heels to oppose or stall it with vigor.
The harder we are pushed, the harder we resist!
Today, absenteeism, non-cooperation, and employee disengagement are early warning signs of a micro-managing boss.
Employee turnover is the ultimate act of defiance against the leaders who have been guilty of micro-managing and giving little or no autonomy to their employees.
As with parenting, leaders need to be less controlling and more supportive and facilitative in their approach. All the more important for leaders who are working with Gen Z, Gen X, and Gen Alphas.
Any attempt to control can lead to what social psychologists call the “Romeo and Juliet” effect. As was the case with me and my partner. The impact of that is still relevant.