Micromanagers may be good performers, produce results, and get the job done well. I know this; I've worked for them in the past.

The fabric they were cut from, however, was also the reason I quit on them. Did I like the work I was doing? Absolutely. Did I like the mission and my colleagues and co-workers? Yep.

What I couldn't take anymore was the constant lack of support, the disrespect, and the gargantuan ego that disregarded my professional needs and interests.  

When I was an individual contributor many years ago doing the corporate grind, I was ready to follow a true leader. I got that chance only once, back in 2005, when I reported to a servant leader executive unlike any other.

Like those of that former boss I so admired, there are rare qualities that confident, servant leaders share.

Here are six that I believe will instantly transform your micromanagers into leaders you'll want to follow.

1. Admit being wrong.

The boss that proclaims their position and disregards differing points of view will have few followers. Typically, they know they're right, and they need you to know it too. But truly respected servant leaders are quite secure in admitting when they're wrong and made a mistake, or don't have all the answers. They will back down graciously when proved wrong. To them, it's more important to find out what is right than being right. Intellectual bullies? Rarely the case.

2. Listen before speaking.

The micromanagers I'm familiar with have charisma coupled with "diarrhea of the mouth." They run over people with hasty words and often take credit for something other people did. When confronted, rather than taking in constructive criticism to process their wrongdoing and apologize or make amends, they get defensive and throw blame grenades at innocent bystanders. 

Well-respected servant leaders, on the other hand, are unassuming and know what they think; they are more interested in meeting the needs of others and want to know what you think. This works brilliantly in meetings to tap into the strengths of others. These servant leaders know the only way to do that is to listen more.

3. Give others the glory.

Micromanagers I've worked under need the spotlight to keep their inflated ego fed. The most remarkable servant leaders don't need the glory; they understand what they've achieved. They don't seek validation, because true validation comes from within. They stand back and celebrate their accomplishments by letting others shine, which helps boost the confidence of others. 

4. Be humble and ask for help.

Micromanagers walk in a hazy cloud of pride. When things get tense or problems arise that extend beyond their capacity, they retreat to their corner to try and figure things out lone-ranger style. Respected servant leaders are secure enough to admit a weakness and when they need help. By asking for help that others may see as a weakness, servant leaders know that when they get help, they are paying that other person a big compliment.

5. Be accessible.

Servant leaders, particularly during hard times, are out in front of the organization sharing plans for the future. They don't hide behind closed doors or conveniently delegate important communication needs to others. Employees will look to leaders for information, clear expectations, and the status of what's going on when the chips are down. Great leaders are especially adept at "walking their four corners." 

6. Be authentic and speak from the heart.

Micromanagers I've worked for have been famous for saying things to sugarcoat the real issue, to try to please others, or to look good in front of their peers. It was in their DNA to never speak truth with emotional honesty, because if we (team members) knew the truth, it was a direct hit on their false sense of pride. True leaders don't betray themselves or others by using words or making decisions that are not aligned with who they are. They speak clearly, honestly, and with integrity. That's why they usually have great reputations.

Published on: Jun 22, 2018
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