This is a tip for people like me: all you fellow fixers, problem solvers, action takers. All you people who are amazing at getting on with it, and getting shit done.
Because all of that awesomeness is also what gets us into trouble. It can lead us into that awful place: micromanagement.
I’m using family as an example, but we’ve all had team members where this applies too.
My kids are in that typical teen phase of loving each other and acting like they are mortal enemies.
Underneath the arguing and unpleasantness, I know they are sharpening their skills of
- articulating their case
- standing up for themselves
- attack and defense strategies
So I should just let them get on with it. Follow my own knowledge of leadership and let them work it out.
But it’s so hard. The fixer in me is going insane. Oh my god, I just want it to stop.
I can see the answer, and it’s so obvious.
And I just want to step in and tell. them. what. to. do.
Ooh that slippery slope into micromanagement. I did that early on in my management career and it was awful. I’m so glad I learned how to stop it otherwise I’d still be the asshole.
But I believe command and control leadership has a place, and it’s for very specific circumstances like evacuation, emergencies etc.
When we want the people in our care to learn and grow, then the “Mind Your Own Business” leadership model might be best.
So that’s what I’ve been using.
Yep, just close your eyes, take a deep breath to let go of the tension and the desire to intervene, and mind your own business.
Go do something else, take a break, leave the room. But most of all, mind your own business.
While this is tongue-in-cheek, this actually works.
But boy is it hard. Keeping my mouth shut? Not interfering? Letting them work it out themselves?
Doing nothing is so hard.
I failed regularly.
Started butting in. Starting solving the problem for them.
It wasn’t appreciated. We all ended up annoyed.
But every time I also caught myself, and stopped.
Sometimes I caught myself in the “oh let me just say this…” phase. That’s easy to get out of, no one sees it.
Sometimes I was already in the middle of it, mid-sentence. Gotta admit those times were a bit awkward. (imagine someone abruptly stops speaking, clamps their mouth shut, then leaves the room. yep, did that too).
This is what I love about learning: both successes and failures teach us how to do it better. So it’s all good.
It’s been like a bootcamp for my mental muscles.
I am now more able to mind my own business, and I am grateful to my kids for giving me so many opportunities to train these muscles.
Mind Your Own Business leadership model. Where do you need to try it?
“What’s a leadership series? How’s it different from the thought series or coaching tips? Good questions.“ This series gives you tips to take your own leadership to the next level, and ways you can extend your own capabilities. Ready to take your skills to the next level, but aren’t sure where to start? Get in touch with me.