Earlier this week I made micromanagers throughout the media sales universe uncomfortable by highlighting some behaviors that cause them to be labeled as such. They want to know details and ask endless questions; they delegate but then are not happy with the results; they are busy keeping their fingers in everything; they don't trust others and feel the need to check up on them; and they have probably heard grumbling at the water cooler or been told flat out that they are micromanagers.
If you fear that micromanager crown, recognize you may have a few of those tendencies, and want to do something about it, you can! Your personality may not lend itself to totally embracing trust, delegation, and teamwork, but your management style can be altered by changing behaviors. You will have to take a hard look at your behaviors and start training yourself to change them.
- Get a solid CRM, or use the one you have, to provide you with overviews. Resist the urge to dig deep into everything. Yes, the information is there, but you don’t need to use your time looking at every detail of every client that has pending dollars to be closed. Use JUST the home or overview page for your one-on-ones, and focus on top accounts and prospects. Let your people come up with plans of action for those accounts, and offer assistance if they need it. Otherwise, get out of their way!
- Hold yourself as well as those you manage accountable. The micromanagers in my life have shared a tendency to hold others accountable to an extreme, when they themselves may not be. They couldn't be accountable for what they were supposed to be doing, because they were spending so much time managing in minute detail of what everyone else was doing! By letting your people formulate and execute their plans of action and then focusing on the results, you will build trust that they are doing what they told you they would do. If the results are not what you or they desire, then offer help.
- Delegate. Then don't be critical of the details as long as the job gets done. Don't be concerned about the font color on the sales piece or what the sales contest tracking board looks like – be concerned that the sales pieces are getting in front of clients and that money is being made during the contest. Start by choosing an area in which you already delegate, promise yourself not to give too much detail, and empower the person doing the task by saying, “Here are some parameters; I need this done by this time.” Resist checking up, and be ready to give positive praise when the task is completed.
- Don’t go around people. Let them do the job you hired them to do. If you manage managers, including account managers, and you come up with an agreed-upon course of action, resist the urge to stray from that course. This goes for solving client problems to personnel situations. Each time you step in, you are cutting off the legs of the problem solver. Instead of helping, you are training others that you and only you hold the keys to the city. Think of it in parental terms: it’s like when you agree as parents that little Sarah can’t spend the night with little Ashley this Friday, then the other parent caves and says, it’s ok; or when Jeffery has one final chance to bring up his grade, so the other parent steps in and does his homework for him. You hired quality people, so you can focus on your job duties. Agree on courses of action, do your part, and stay away from the rest.
- Consider where the place would be without you. I am betting it was there before you. We all know of countless managers who have moved on, or been moved on, and the place is still standing after their departure. Sales – and life — moves forward when you are on vacation or in corporate meetings. The hard reality is that, especially if you have hired the right people and have nurtured them to grow, that they are just fine without you. And if you impede progress in their jobs, they may see themselves as better off when you are not there. Take a step back and for just a moment, don't let your ego get in your way.
Hard realities to face? You bet! But you are getting in your own way if you are a micromanager. Just. Let. Go.
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services
Interested in reading more about the interaction between sales managers and their teams?