This is a thought piece about progress, inspired by my recent musings about micromanagers. The topic has come up in many of my coaching sessions recently. As I started to think about being a manager I had the horrifying realisation that in my first real management role, I was a micromanager.
Even worse, I was one of those “hands off until I bear it anymore, not let me help you (because you’re doing it wrong” people.
It still shows up in my baking with my daughter. What triggers it? When I want to get it just right, and she wants to dive right in with zero experience and no explanations whatsoever. You can hear the tension in me, right?
I can feel it in the tension in my arms as I hold them back from taking over.
The need for control hasn’t gone, but at least I’m keeping my hands to myself
Inspiration about how progress happens
I’m sitting at my desk, looking out at the snow falling. The flakes are tiny. So many tiny little dots, being buffeted about by the wind.
It’s hard to imagine this kind of snow leading anywhere.
It reminds me of drizzle. It’s annoying, seemingly ineffectual, I mean, is it even really raining? Yet it soaks us, and we get surprised. How did that mist drench me?
Yet these tiny snowflakes kept falling. It did this constantly for almost two days, and we have 15cm of snow covering my world in an insulating blanket.
It’s enough to transform the world. (and if only it was sticky snow we could have epic snowball fights).
Watching the snow made me stop and think about change and progress.
It’s like we’re conditioned to expect that our progress will be dramatic and quick.
We’d all like to have that dramatic success of “we had 2 feet of snow last night!”
We want to change habits we’ve had for years, and we want to achieve total change overnight.
I have my theories about where this conditioning comes from. hint: movie montages of about two minutes to show all the WORK needed for success. This feeds into our desire for instant success and reinforces the belief that it should be that way… ok, going to reign myself in. That’s enough of my soapbox.
But wherever the conditioning comes from, we don’t need to hold on to it.
The world needs more reality. I have a yearning to see and hear more about imperfect people, being imperfect, and yet doing amazing things.
This is how progress actually works.
Tiny actions, consistently taken, over a period of time.
That’s how I stopped being a micromanager. Tiny actions e.g. to listen and ask questions instead of tell. Keep my hands by my side so I don’t take over the keyboard or the dough.
Then do that consistently, over time.
Progress = little actions X time
It’s that movie montage bit, but we need to do it in real time.
But what can be an instant success? Choosing to Change. That happens in an instant.
Where in your life are YOU a micromanager?
This is part of my Thought Piece Series where I explore topics related to leadership and provide both answers and questions. My intention is to start meaningful conversations that help us move forward. Want to connect? Click here.