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31 Days to Becoming a Better Leader


Day #23: Avoiding Micromanaging: Coaching and Mentoring

A coach has some great questions for your answers; a mentor has some great answers for your questions. – Anonymous Coaching

The most deadly activity I see, and the most common as well, is micromanaging. It’s the “BOSS” syndrome. Telling people what to do isn’t effective in today’s world. Learning to delegate is one of the most difficult skills for today’s leader to master. We have seen others show up as BOSS and command the space by telling everyone everything to do. Once the BOSS leaves, people typically do whatever they please and accomplish just enough to get by. What happens when the leader isn’t present is the test of true leadership.

My definition of BOSS: when you spell is backwards, you get “Double SOB!” This doesn’t inspire a high-functioning culture.

Delegate and assist in the completion of the tasks. Here’s what’s required for effective delegation:

  • Clearly define the desired end result.
  • Provide information for achieving that result.
  • Provide needed information.
  • Respect the individual.
  • Mentor as necessary for subject matter expertise you have.
  • Set time-activated report time with specific results.
  • Get out of the way.

Don’t confuse coaching with mentoring.

  • Coaching is mostly asking questions and assisting the team member in increasing their own leadership skills. A coach never provides answers or tells anyone what to do.
  • Mentoring is providing specific information and skills for achieving something. The mentor is a subject matter expert and knows not only what they want accomplished, but also the information and skills to do it. The mentor is primarily a teacher.

If you didn’t notice, the last bullet point in delegation is … “Get out of the way.” Leaders often get in the way and limit the performance of team members.

Next: Day #24 – No Job Descriptions

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