Controlling managers are often frowned upon. Nobody wants a manager looking over their shoulder, constantly making sure that they are doing their job correctly. Nobody wants to be micromanaged. So for me to say, as a business coach of over 25 years, that I am proud to be a control freak, it might raise a few eyebrows. Let me explain myself.
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According to Dictionary.com the word, “control” is defined as: “To exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command.” Which leads most to think of the micromanaging boss that they all loathed and despised. And while that is a part of it, I want to focus on the “direction over” part of the definition. What if being a control freak simply meant that you had systems and processes in place to help guide and exercise direction over the course in which your business operates? What if you could exercise control, while still being a respectful boss and co-worker, and allow your employees to own their departments and results?
Trying to control the situation and your team members the traditional way isn’t a good idea for anyone. Your business will end up relying heavily on your presence. And if something were to happen to you, your business would suffer in your absence. Instead, set up automated controls that will work even when you aren’t. And you can pass the torch to other key team members to help guide the direction of the business based on those controls.
Here are a few examples of some controls that I teach my business coaching clients.
Micromanaging the marketing team to make sure that they do all of the tasks on their to-do list is exhausting and counter-productive. Creating a dashboard or scorecard that will show you in real time how they are doing on your key initiatives is a much better use of your time. It will allow you to take control of the outcome, and make decisions based on numbers and data. You can also include things like checklists, sprints, budgets, etc into this category.
Micromanaging the accounting department to make sure that payroll goes out on time or that your bills are paid on time, isn’t a good use of your time and pulls you away from more high-level projects. Instead, create controls within your business where two or more unrelated parties become a check and balance for one another. This same process can be used throughout other departments of your business as well. Procedural controls establish a known pathway to a consistently secure result.
Having to review every single sales contract that gets drafted can really slow down your sales process. Instead, create a standardized contract that everyone uses, and then enlist the help of a few procedural checks and balances should additional sales concessions need to be made. You don’t have to be involved in the process. And in reality, you shouldn’t be. You can also implement things like automated data backups, financial controls that will protect in the case of a poor business decision, etc. Anything that can be designed into the process, without having someone do extra work, is worth considering.
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