#1 The Micro-Manager – Hiring Great People and Doing Their Job for Them


#1 Hire Great People and do the Job for Them.

How often do we see this? Leaders unwilling to relinquish power to their team members, wanting final say on everything, having their fingers in everyone’s pie.

I was speaking with a friend of mine, who had taken on a new role. A role of national accounts within a business undertaking a turnaround of massive proportions. A business that had lost its way and had finally woken up on their route to irrelevance, and had changed the CEO and senior executives. My friend was part of the new executive team, and had been personally recruited by the new CEO..


I asked him how he was going and how the CEO was going. He replied, “He hires great people and proceeds to do the job for them.” And that’s what Dumb Leaders do!

This CEO (Dumb Leader) went to great pains to ensure he had final say on everything. No member of his exec team could move proactively without his express sign off. He deepened the tone of the corporate logo, he worked over the store development team as they built new store designs, he attended every marketing meeting and held up the process with direct requests for celebrities for use in the market. Evidence mounted that the turnaround had the fingerprints of the DL all over it, and the hand-picked exec team were left twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the elusive direction and sign-off from the DL.

Assembling a great team and rendering them incompetent is a trait of a dumb leader. A dumb leader exerts power and influence over everything, even though the people they employ are often the best ones to be making the decision. Whether it’s a power play or simply micro-managing, DL’s fail to embrace the full potential and capabilities of their team, making success elusive

The Dumb Leader Handbook

#1 – The Micro-manager

The Scenario – How it Played Out!

The DL and the turnaround meandered through a series of financial reporting timelines with no major positive effects being noted. A confused strategy, a new store design that added substantial operating cost and a constant churn,  was part of the reasons that ultimately led to the ultimate change, a change of the DL and a mass redundancy to reign in spiralling costs. The CEO rolled back the store design, simplifying the strategy and the message and started the new turnaround process. It remains to be seen whether this company will ever recover, but hopefully the new CEO unlocks the potential of the team and helps bring the brand back to prominence.

The Stuff That’s Dumb – The Micro-Manager

When you don’t allow your team to do the jobs they are best at, it breeds mis-trust, cynicism and a team playing the game with their hands tied. The DL who inists on final approval, micro-manages is effectively saying to their team they don’t trust them to do the job. When you hire great people and insist on doing their job, your are limiting the success you will achieve.

Our story, highlights a CEO,  but it happens at all levels. The branch manager running around doing everything, while their team blandly watch ; the trade foreman giving their team smaller jobs and checking in every half hour ; the department manager working ridiculous hours to keep on top of things, because they are the best person to do the job.It’s dumb.

And leaders who are inclined to be micro-managers struggle to make success sustainable. It’s that simple.

The need to micro-manage comes from a number of things wired within. It may be a lack of trust from a previous poor results. It may be a quest for power to control others. The key thing is that we can recognise it. And once recognised we take steps to keep ourselves under control.


You’re preferred strategy always is to hire great people and allow them to do their job. As a leader you have an obligation to develop and coach your team, you must be close enough to develop them, far enough away to keep them inspired. It’s also important to note that at times managing people closely is important. Employees undergoing performance management need to be monitored closely to ensure they comply with required action. Additionally, it may be wise to keep newer employees close as well, as you build their trust and skillset within the team.

Generally, however, it is best to ignite the team with a vision and allow them the opportunity to actively particpate in producing the work outcomes needed. Let’s look at our three step strategy.

Three Steps

our 3 step strategy

  1. Understand your role in the organisation and the requirements behind it. Invest energy into ensuring others are aware of their roles. When there is clarity, not just with your role, but the role that each of your team members play, there’s greater chance of success but also greater opportunity for you to understand the role you play.
  2. Create feedback loops with your team. The ability for a leader to coach courage in their team and create the environment where your team feel comfortable to provide honest feedback to you, is critical for you understanding your impact on the team. If there is a problem, you want to hear about it.
  3. Create your picture of your ideal team members and place a high value on them. A clear picture of the ideal team member for every role enables you to place value on the recruitment of the team. Placing the required priority on recruitment and investing in the process, helps you select the right people.


Micro-managers unfortunately will continue to be prelevant in the business world. Leaders that have a finger in everything and a watchful eye over the shoulder of their team are not the leaders that become the illustration of success. At times you will need to be a micro-manager, but me aware that being one full-time hampers your team and hampers your results. Only dumb leaders would want to hamper their results. The micro-manager is one of them.



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