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Micromanagement can undermine confidence

Financial Bookworm

Published: Dec 12, 2012

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For many Bahamian leaders and business managers, it’s approaching that time of year when Christmas and New Year vacations are starting to dominate our thoughts with the emphasis on quality family time and relaxation.  However, does a nagging concern remain regarding what will be awaiting your return to work in 2013?

If this scenario seems as unlikely as Father Christmas offering to help out in your absence, I may just have a ready-made New Year resolution available to help you.   In his new book, Professor J. Keith Murnighan from the U.S. Kellogg School of Management suggests that a “do nothing” approach is far more effective than doing too much.

‘Do Nothing!’ contains a number of practical leadership strategies to help leaders do less and lead more.  The author suggests that leaders should develop a pragmatic learning mind-set within their organization that embodies strong core values. In other words, leaders don’t work; they facilitate, orchestrate and focus on high-level business priorities without worrying about the team reaching its performance goals or short-term profitability targets.


Simply, leaders shouldn’t do any¬thing except:

• Develop strategies and help people implement them

• Make key decisions and communicate these effectively

• Promote a psychologically safe environment for team members to perform

• Remain close to the action to understand what is happening whilst still maintaining their strategic perspective

• Achieving the foresight to exploit new business development opportunities.


This informs what Murnighan terms the "Leadership Law" which is about determining the strategic actions you can take to maximize results, instead of getting bogged down in the operational details.  The author argues that over-managing or micromanagement can undermine the confidence and autonomy of team members and demonstrates this with several case studies.

‘Do Nothing!’ shows you how to set high expectations for your team and help establish a healthier culture by developing mutual trust.  This in turn creates an environment that encourages, supports and builds superior performance.  Murnighan adds, “People on your team will reveal skills you never knew they had and will accomplish things that go far beyond your estimate of their capabilities… they will get results you never expected. Everyone has hidden talents, and most leaders never discover them.”

So please accept this early Christmas present from The Nassau Guardian: Chill out, enjoy the holiday period and do nothing – you deserve it.

Published by Portfolio Hardcover and available from www.Amazon.com

• Keith Appleton JP, BA (Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has extensive experience within an academic, managerial and strategic leadership role.  He is a member of the UK Institute of Leadership & Management and can be contacted at KeithAppleton@Hotmail.co.uk or follow him at twitter.com/WritingRightNow.

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