Being a leader is not about being hard, aggressive or overly “macho”. It is about doing things through others, often for their reasons. The goal of the leader is to get things done on the journey to a set destination. Of course often the leader is setting the destination, other times it is set by another leader in the business and we need to deliver our elements in our own way.
Individuals cannot have their own way all the time
When one of the team is used to getting their view accepted all the time, when their opinion is out of alignment tough discussions need to take place. As a leader with a typically accommodating style, when this situation happens, and the individual keeps pushing back, it is time to change approach.
Is the individual self-aware?
The usual soft and accommodating method only works with people that are self-aware. The fact that to date they have got their way by luck is neither here or there. They have by this time developed a pattern of behaviour which is focused around deflection to others. They often fail to realise that they are accountable and need to get things done directly. This style is often described as people with “Teflon shoulders”… nothing sticks.
Often this lack of self-awareness is characterised by the individual “not listening” and often argues beyond the point where it’s reasonable. Especially when the push comes from someone other then themselves.
The need for a leader to be blunt
For team members that are not self-aware, as leaders we need to adopt a different approach. In Situational leadership terms we need to be more directive. It stops being a discussion and negotiation, but is an instruction. We need to take off all the “soft” wrappings, and call a spade a spade. Say it as it is if you like.
We need to treat the person as though they are “not competent”, and issue step by step instructions, often having them report back at each stage. Yes we may need to micro manage them.
Micromanaging as a legitimate style?
We all hate being micro managed, but for a person that is not competent, or learning, often the approach we need to take is providing a lot of supervision. They need it as they are not aware of the risks, steps or actions yet.
Of course micro managing is not a great long term or permanent style, it is inefficient, not productive, and indeed can undermine employee engagement. But it is in certain situations a legitimate leadership tool in dealing with some individuals in certain situations.
see full graphic of micromanaging boss cartoon – is micromanaging ever a legitimate leadership style? What do you think?
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