Like so many of you, I spent the holiday weekend planting flowers. A lot of flowers. Before planting my annual flowers I had already renovated some garden beds and moved shrubs around. As I planted flat after flat of flowers I resisted the urge to revert to my past gardening habits. I have a habit of filling in every empty spot in my garden with a plant. I hate empty spaces and holes. On the plus side, my garden is lush and full by summer’s end. The negative? Some of my plants don’t appreciate being crowded out and can’t flourish in their spot.
You don’t need to have a green thumb to know that cramming anything into a constricted place won’t work. Plants, animals, and people need their space and room to grow. We have seen the results of overcrowding in so many areas of the world. Why do so many leaders still try to “plant” people so close without a second thought or neglect them and expect them to grow?
Have you ever had a manager that micromanaged you day in and day out? Perhaps they had sound intentions, however; their actions were stifling and wore you down every day until your passion was crushed. You dragged your feet to work feeling like you were crowded out.
A few years ago I had a manager that was obsessed with controlling everything that our team worked on. She went as far as standing over our shoulders when we wrote critical emails. She "coached" us on what to say and when in presentations. We had a difficult client at the time, and in her mind, she was protecting us to keep the customer calm. Needless to say, her actions had the opposite impact, and our group was being crowded out.
Micromanaging isn’t the only way that leaders crush growth. Unfortunately, the result is the same. People grow weary, lose their confidence and purpose, and end up leaving where they know they will have a chance to grow.
Here are some more ways that managers crowd out their people
· Leaders may avoid challenging folks with new projects or opportunities
· Neglect to offer vital resources or equipment
· Provide minimal if any, guidance or critical information to assist in work
· Fail to build strong teams that work together and support shared goals
· Lead in front, not from behind. This pushes teams and clouds results
· Neglect employee opinions and input
· Refuse to listen to alternative options or points of view
· Undermine employees to save face with other departments
· Leaders who take credit for the achievements of their employees
· Managers who refuse to support and back employees when crises arise
· Weak leaders hold their employees to higher standards than for other teams
If you have ever felt crowded out or demoralized in your career, you probably have some more suggestions. As a leader, look at your "garden" of employees to verify that everyone has the resources and space to grow in their spot. Offer them the resources, support, and leadership that they deserve to sustain and grow those around them.
Are you ready to give your people space?
Photo courtesy of Vlado at freedigitalphotos.com