October 1, 2020

“You Can’t Make an Entrance if You Never Leave”

This past week I was listening to an interview with Chris Rock during which he mentioned a piece of advice he had received from Lorne Michaels,

“You can’t make an entrance if you never leave.”

While Mr. Rock’s context for this was the value of, from time to time, stepping out of the limelight provided by show business, I think Mr. Michael’s advice is equally applicable to managers in business situations—particularly those of us who micromanage.

“OK,” my inner micromanager is quick to respond, “maybe I do micromanage, but it’s because I want things done right.”

To which my inner, sane manager must respond, “You don’t mean done right… you mean done your way.”

Hhhhmmm… as those of you know who micromanage, “my way” is often a slippery slope.

Why?

Because it kills others’ creativity, it kills the possibility of camaraderie, it kills initiative.

In short, telling others they can only do something “your way” is demoralizing.

So what can those of us who—like myself— tend to step out of our roles and into others’ do?

Listen to Mr. Michael’s advice.

If you are a committed micromanager—and this is hard for you—you may find it easier to tell yourself that leaving is OK because you will be returning to save the day.

If you are a recovering micromanager—such as (I hope) myself—please enjoy telling yourself how satisfying it will be when you return to applaud your high-performing, super-satisfied team.

Either way? Step away.

 

For more on the value of giving, rather than taking, take a look at, You Get When You Give (Or “Hoarders Never Finish First”)

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