Is micromanaging damaging your effectiveness to lead?
Is micromanaging damaging your effectiveness to lead? (iStock photo)

We all want to be the type of leader who influences others to be the most effective people they can be. We want our teams to be functioning well and each member of the team to be operating at peak capacity. We want to be known as a positive influence and want to make a difference wherever we are.

And yet we also might fear (or know) that something we're doing is preventing any of this from happening.

There is something getting in the way of leadership. You just aren't sure what it is.

Micromanaging has been a buzzword for a long time—long enough to know none of us want to be accused of this or actually be this. We also know micromanaging can kill a culture of credibility and accountability and prevent people from functioning at their best. And yet, there's a good chance that if you're facing difficulty with your team, you might be struggling with this.

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Here are three questions you can ask yourself to make sure you're keeping the micromanaging in check:

1. Am I delegating? I once heard Mark Batterson say: "If someone else can do it 80% as well as you, it's probably worth releasing it to them." And yet this is so much easier said than done! It's not easy to delegate when you aren't sure you have anyone you can trust with the task, or when you see you're going to have to train someone to do it.

Who has the energy or the time?

One way you can prepare for a culture of delegation is by hiring the right people. If you choose not to take shortcuts to get a certain position filled quickly, you'll be more likely to have people you can trust on your team.

Also, remember training someone to do it now might take a few extra minutes, but think of the minutes (or hours, or days) it will save you in the long run.

Practice being hands off. I think you'll be pleased with what happens.

2. Am I staying focused on the big picture? You are the leader of a team. Which means your job is to be focused on the big picture and make sure the ship is pointed in the right direction. This means you're constantly asking yourself questions like, "what are we about?" and "what's next?" and communicating these messages clearly to the team.

If you don't cast vision for your team, who will?

Without vision, scripture says, people perish.

This couldn't be any more true than it is in leadership. I've found that when I keep my eyes pointed on the greater vision, and when I take responsibility for communicating this greater vision to my team, the small details tend to fall into place and people take ownership over their part.

3. Do I teach others to make decisions? Chances are, you're really good at making decisions. That's how you've gotten to where you are. But it doesn't matter how good you are at making decisions if you don't teach other people on your team to make decisions with you and in spite of you.

The truth is: you can't be there for every decision.

If you try to be, you'll burn out.

This is hard for most leaders. It always seems easier (and safer) to make decisions for people, especially when they express they aren't sure which decision to make. But don't get stuck in this trap. It is a never-ending cycle of pain and grief.

Instead, practice asking your team members to come to you with a few solutions to their "problem" already. Ask them how they came up with the ideas and which one they think is best. On the small things, you might even let them fail—just to give them a learning experience and to show them failure isn't the end of the world.

On the bigger choices, you might help them see some blind spots and talk them through your own decision making process so they can learn.

Again, this won't always seem like the most efficient option, but in the end, you'll be glad you picked it.

With more than a dozen years of local church ministry, Justin Lathrop has spent the last several years starting businesses and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the Kingdom. He is the founder of Helpstaff.me (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership and MinistryCoach.tv, all while staying involved in the local church.

For the original article, visit justinlathrop.com.

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