Why CEOs Need to Stop Micromanaging Their Employees
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In my last post on the role of a CEO, we talked about how the head of a company can best use their time.
But what about the CEO or business owner who finds themselves drifting out of their designated area on the org chart and into their team’s domain?
Call it drifting. Or meddling. Or smothering. Or micromanaging. There *might* be a good reason for it in the short term, but long term, it’s always a problem.
In my experience, this happens with clients for one of three reasons:
Reason #1: You’re struggling to let go
As an entrepreneur, you have probably done the jobs that many of your employees hold today. In some cases, you were better than they are (though probably not as many as you believe). As your company grows and you free yourself from those roles, it can be hard to actually let go of doing them day to day.
Reason #2: You don’t trust your people
You may be dabbling in your company’s sales function or getting involved in ops because you aren’t convinced your team has things under control. Unpopular opinion here: if you have this insecurity, and if you have eliminated reason #1 as the source of your anxiety, you’re probably right. Getting involved may be necessary, but it should be a temporary solution. Ultimately, you need to level up your team so they can do their jobs without you.
Reason #3: You haven’t stepped into your CEO shoes quite yet
It’s a big transition to go from working in the weeds to taking a 30,000 foot view of your company. You’ve got important work to do with all that newfound free time—and it doesn’t involve looking over the shoulders of your employees. Check out this post again if you’re still trying to make the job of CEO feel concrete.
Importantly, never forget the way that people will treat you as the CEO or owner of the company. You have an inherent advantage with your team, and if you press that advantage, you’ll become over-involved with your employees’ work. You can mentor, assist, guide, coach, and occasionally rescue. But you also need to give your employees the confidence and autonomy that allows them to do their jobs well.
As CEO, you have a lane. Stay in it as much as possible—then hit the gas.