"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Coaching v. Micromanaging


Coaching: “Directing, instructing, and training to achieve some goal or develop specific skills.”

Micromanaging: “Supervision with excessive/obsessive control or attention on details.”

No leader, no manager sets out to micromanage; every human being has a strong desire to be successful, Team Members WANT the team to WIN.

So how and why does micromanagement occur?

– The skill set that got a manager to a senior position isn’t always what they need once they are there: Many managers rose through the ranks by staying in control and paying attention to detail. That works great… up to a point. Then the manager reaches a position where THEY no longer do great things, they must empower, lead, and enable OTHERS to do great things; a mega change!

 – Managers want to win too… and Managers DO know a LOT, and they often can do it faster, better… they just can’t do it ALL; hence the need to let go and watch others make mistakes on their dollar, name, and time! Ouch! It hurts. But for every mistake, hopefully many, many other things are done right and the mission moves forward.

– Sometimes it’s legitimate coaching! Often folks think they know more than they do or they underestimate the complexity of the situation they are facing or they do not fully understand the possible ramifications of their actions. What to a manager is legitimate coaching and setting of guidelines may be labeled micromanagement by a subordinate.

Communication is vital. Establishing clarity around scope, desired results, and reporting requirements, and creating an ongoing dialogue go a long way to establish mutual understanding re common vision and shared goals. The more a manager feels that a subordinate is coachable and listens and comprehends, the more confidence they will have and more authority and freedom they will give.

Closing Quotes:

“A manager is not a person who can do the work better than others, a manager is a person who can get others to do the work better than she can.” – Unknown

“Micromanage the Process, not the People.” Joe Apfelbaum, CEO/Co-founder of Ajax Union

“Micromanaging is always something we accuse others of doing.” – Ryan w 37 Signals

“Micromanaging is a form of anxiety that manifests itself as controlling behavior.” – Sharon Rivkinn

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Felt Any Zielschmerz Lately?


Zielschmerz is “the exhilarating dread of finally pursuing a lifelong dream, which requires you to put your true abilities out there to be tested on the open savannah, no longer protected inside the terrarium of hopes and delusions that you created in kindergarten and kept sealed as long as you could, only to break in case of emergency.”

Zielschmerz is not a real word except in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows a fascinating collection of words for obscure, often fleeting emotions that we all have at one point or another but have no common term to facilitate understanding them or discussing with others (i.e. Exulansis—Sense of frustration when you realize that you are trying to talk about an important experience, but other people are unable to understand or relate to it, so you give up).

It takes courage to put our dreams into action; new beginnings often require we leave something familiar and comfortable behind; to grasp the rung above we must release the rung below.

Closing Quote:

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”
– Guillaume Apollinaire, 1880-1918

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Beware the Dunning–Kruger Effect

dunning kruger

The most dangerous person is the confident incompetent. Unfortunately, according to the Dunning–Kruger Effect, it is almost inevitable that the incompetent will be over-confident in their ability! This is simply because their incompetence means they lack the ability to judge their competence. As a result, low ability folks frequently suffer from illusionary superiority, consistently rating themselves significantly more capable then they actually are.

There are unfortunate corollaries: “High-ability individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others.” – Wikipedia

Solution? Cultivate a healthy skepticism, do not blindly accept anyone or anything as an authority, question frequently, become an independent thinker, seek out multiple sources.

Closing Quotes:

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” – Charles Darwin

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance” – Confucius

“One painful thing about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid and those with understanding are filled with doubt and indecision” – Bertrand Russell

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool” – Shakespeare; As You Like It

“If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent. The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.” – Errol Morris

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier