Motivating Without Micromanaging

The more I have come to know and deeply understand my Strengths the more sense it all makes now. How my Strengths dance together, what lit their fire in the places where I have flourished professionally, where I have floundered and how I do not perform well and am demotivated with I’m micromanaged.

The careers I have had in nursing, psychology, teaching and coaching have done well to align my Strengths and my performance. But, to whom I reported — their values and how they treat people — has made the biggest difference for my performance and motivation.

I am curious, what you are noticing about where you flourish and where you flounder? What have you come to know about your peak, A+ performance times and what motivates you?

Don’t blindly believe your team lacks motivation. Click To Tweet

Motivation, Micromanage, The Domino Effect, Autonomy, Relatedness, Competence, psychological needs, Strengths, Strengths Based Leadership, StrengthsFinder, leadership coach

Most leaders want to motivate people to peak performance, but their approach often backfires. In their fervent desire to teach people what they know to be true from their experience, some leaders enthusiastically over-manage in their desire to be helpful.

Over-management can manifest as or be interpreted as micromanagement. When you tell the people you lead what to do, how to do it, when to do it and why your way is better, you are not understanding their unique Strengths and how they work best from their Strengths perspective. Each Strength and Strength Domain has different needs in order for the Strength to flourish and excel. Additionally, when people do not feel as if they have control over the way they work they begin to feel powerless, controlled and may begin to disengage. They many even start to doubt what they know to be true about their competency. Their relationship with you deteriorates, as it is now based on compliance and conformity.

Leaders who micromanage greatly impair their team member’s ability to find meaning and fulfillment at work. If you remember, from pervious posts, your team’s basic psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness and competency remain unfulfilled, prompting them to withdraw and disengage.

The Domino Effect

Autonomy, relatedness and competency are interdependent. When you fail to offer opportunities for learning and growth (competence), you thwart opportunities for autonomy and relatedness. Mess with one and the others fall like dominoes.

Don’t blindly believe your team lacks motivation. People want to learn, grow, enjoy work, be productive and make a contribution. They want to enjoy relationships at work — it’s human nature.

When your team’s psychological needs are satisfied, they experience positive energy, vitality and a sense of well-being. They strive for more. You have likely experienced this yourself, maybe with a hobby. No one needed to tell you to engage in something you enjoy — you do it because you derive pleasure from it.

Everyone has motivation. What matters is how it is tapped and the quality of the motivation. Next week we’ll talk about the different levels of engagement and motivational conversations — how you can discover more about what motivates individuals.

Where have you been successful in motivating people? What challenges have you experienced with motivating people? Contact me here and on LinkedIn.


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