There is nothing that kills creativity like micromanagement. This might seem obvious, but it is not always easy not to do when you like things to be perfect and when you can always spot room for improvement. Why is micromanagement such a poor way to manage your business and employees?
This week during the shoot of a TV show at La Motte, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the director’s attention to detail. Such an eye for product placement and continuity, the presenter’s choice of words, but also the small nuances that will tell the story without a word. It was a joy to see how he brought the well-scripted story and planning sheets to life. But what I really appreciated was his ability to trust the process. Sometimes he sat back, leaving a conversation to flow, even when it went off script. He’ll tell the presenter to “just go with it” or would see a camera go off the planned path without calling it back. In doing that he allowed the magic into the production. Personalities came through when they were not just sharing a well-rehearsed script and his team had the confidence to do more than just following his direction, they brought their own creativity and perspective that contributed to the original idea.
While all of this was just a passing thought during the shoot, I thought about it again when I saw this tweet by Justin Mikolay. He shared what he called “powerful, non-obvious ideas in professional life”. All his points bring something to think about. Each one of them can easily be the topic of a blog, but two of them reminded me of the director’s skill: 1) Over-engineer watches, not strategies and 2.) Coordinate don’t synchronise. (Please read the whole thread here.) And even though Mikolay’s tweet might not be about micromanagement, I think over-engineering and synchronising are elements of the same issue – trying to control the process to your company’s detriment.
When you appoint senior staff members, you want them to be experts in their field, to know more than you do when it comes to their area of expertise. You also must be able to trust them. You need them to do more than execute your plans. You want them to come with other ideas, better plans. That is how you add value to your company and your brand. For your team to have such confidence in their own creativity, you can’t micromanage them. Of course, you need to provide a framework, a strategy, and a plan. You should ensure that your goals are well communicated and understood, but you must trust the process and create a platform for brilliance.
I love having a plan on the table. But such a plan can never be cast in stone, only the goal should be. A dedicated and goal-oriented team is one of a company’s greatest assets. Rather than ticking boxes, trust them to think and dream and bring you the magic.