You Manage Things; You Lead People

by Jillian Cecchini, Managing Editor

Jillian Cecchini, Managing Editor of Oral HealthOral Health Office focuses on the practice management side of dentistry and each time I sit down to write my editorial, I aim to shed light on the positive benefits of working as a team. Leadership and coaching, strategizing and collaboration, and the overall benefits of working collectively to ensure that happiness, and the dedication that stems from those motivational drivers, is a key element and a goal to strive for throughout the workplace.

But what happens when negative aspects start to appear in the office? In September, I sat in on a lecture at Dentsply Sirona World that focused on abrasive leadership (be sure to check out Kristine Berry’s article in this issue!) Her lecture prompted me to think about all of the different factors that contribute to negative leadership. One in particular – micromanagement.

By definition, micromanagement is a management style whereby a manager closely observes or controls the work of subordinates or employees. In some way or another, we’ve all been micromanaged. And I can guarantee we’ve all had the same feeling of resentment towards it. But have we ever actually thought about the root causes of micromanagement? Have we ever proactively acted to resolve or understand it rather than merely expressing our distaste?

I think that one of the greatest misunderstandings in coaching and leadership is the term micromanagement. They are often confused simply because micromanagement generally has a negative connotation. Realistically, on the surface, the activities and the leader’s involvement look very similar. The one key difference is the leader’s intent and desired goal of their actions. There is nothing more damaging to a person’s self-worth when their superiors don’t believe in their abilities, their ideas, and the value they add to the workplace.

This all comes down to trust between a team and their manager. We need to keep in mind that trust is a two-way street. Staff must be able to trust their manager as much as they trust them. There are many valid management styles and every staff member reacts differently to each. When you limit your style, you also limit the ability to communicate, leaving the team only knowing how to do as they are told.

It’s extremely important to be able to openly communicate and work together as a team. If a sense of micromanagement is felt, success will be limited. The purpose of working collaboratively as a team is to use each team members own strengths to produce the highest quality of success. If a feeling of control is lingering, accomplishing this could prove difficult.

Here’s my opinion to all the managers out there: don’t be afraid of being a coach in the office because you don’t want to micromanage. Tell your team members what you need, give them your support, and then it’s time to put all of your trust in them to accomplish the job. Be sure to share the intent of your actions with your team. They’ll understand your goals for not only yourself, but for them – which ultimately is the goal to success.

RELATED ARTICLE: All Good Things Come From Gratitude

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