In our business, a person with a micro viewpoint not only keeps both eyes on the ball every day, but manages where the ball is going, and how it gets to its destinations. This viewpoint can have negative connotations in the workplace but managers with this viewpoint can also have an instinctive need for this approach. The question is whether the need to closely supervise the work of your team is a lack of trust in the abilities of others, or an instinctive need to know the details.
We find that both can be happening at once, as people try their best to work together.
A lack of trust in the abilities of others can cause a leader to feel personally responsible for achieving results. A lack of trust can have several causes, we are not referring to trust of character, rather trust that a person or persons will not get things done, a common challenge among leaders. When leaders do not understand individual strengths of their people, and the specific way these abilities influence productivity, they have difficulty delegating. They may closely supervise team progress and achievements to ensure a result. Without mutual awareness of individual strengths, recognition of how these abilities can be arranged as a performance advantage, and the personal freedom to execute accordingly, performance challenges can plague an otherwise well formed team. Underdeveloped team strengths will always end in a lack of trust – that work will be achieved accurately, timely and effectively.
A micro viewpoint is not always an applied method of management. A leader can have an instinctive need to gain information, in detail and from multiple perspectives. This type of leader can have trouble understanding why his or her team does not approach challenge in the same way. One Vice President, VP, was frustrated with his management team because they would generate requested information but continually change it. This VP scrutinized the details of his management team’s work, and each time he required them to provide more information. Over time the management team’s confidence in their ability to produce accurate information continued to decrease. Goals and projections never made it past the management team because there wasn’t suitable detail to get the VP’s approval. Therefore management was unsure of their priorities and what should be communicated to their teams.
This VP explained his lack of trust and his need for more detail, with great frustration that management team members may not be qualified for their roles. There was continual turnover in management positions and the situation was threatening organizational performance.
We tackled first things first; trust that others would get things done. With validation of individual problem solving strengths the management team found their voices so-to-speak. They learned to express their method of executing their roles, their specific problem solving values, and what the others can expect as they worked through priorities together. This awareness of individual strengths created mutual respect for the method of operation by each team member. As the management team began to arrange their efforts to improve collective performance, they gained trust in one another – that things would get done. The VP witnessed their collective synergy but had reservations. We worked strategically to help him understand and to recognize individual problem solving methods of his management team members. He also learned what to expect from each of them, as information was communicated. With renewed respect for the methods of his team he was able to arrange their input and achieve his expectations.
Our VP client was greatly relieved. He finally understood why his own need for detail was not shared by every high level professional. He learned to recognize and trust the abilities of his management team. His micro viewpoint was transformed to a macro view, where varying individual strengths are respected and properly arranged, and there was mutual trust that things will get done.
For help in seeing your organization more clearly, contact us at FIREPOWER Teams – We are ready to help!