In today’s world, being a conscious benevolent leader matters. We live in perhaps the most stirring and electrifying economic period in our lifetime. New realities are happening. To thrive and flourish in the decade ahead will require a different mindset in addition to a more conscious way of leading and being in the world.

To meet the challenges of the next decade—and to take full advantage of the possibilities, you need to cultivate the ability to lead with conscious awareness and most important to avoid micromanaging. Unfortunately, many business people trained in traditional leadership paradigms have become convinced that they must keep their focus and apply the level of intensity, scrutiny and in-your-face approach to the way they manage their staff, whether warranted or not.

Undeniably, paying attention to details and making sure the work is getting done are important. So, it is easy for many leaders to misidentify that in order to make sure the work is getting done right they need to engage in an explicit managing process and dictate how to get to that result. This misidentification often leads to micromanaging. When you micromanage, you are asking for problems!

Your job as a leader

Some might argue that to create a successful business, leaders must set standards and keep their staff from running amok or becoming disorderly and undisciplined. That may be true in some cases, but when you micromanage and set a rigid standard based on what’s right vs. wrong, you have done your business and everyone in it a disservice.

We are not suggesting that organizations should function in an unconscious environment of “whatever….” Nor are we suggesting that business should not aim to deliver exceptional quality to agreed-upon standards. However, standards should not be used as a context for measuring people’s behavior or performance. The willingness to change doesn’t mean steering an organization with no strategic vision or clarity of direction. On the contrary, leaders must generate a conscious strategy—one that has substantial flexibility and suppleness built into it. Strategy should be developed and continuously reaffirmed. Leaders should also continuously ask: “What have we missed?” and make changes when required.

Unfortunately, people who function based on micromanagement often misidentify and misapply the notion of what a standard is. They tend to use standards to judge people—and they do so continuously. They do not allow the free flow of information regarding performance, financials, strategy, and other areas. They actively cultivate a climate of fear and punishment through systematized organizational disincentives, and they have such rigid mindsets and standards that no other possibilities are allowed. They are focused on systems and processes that create order and are not open to change.

This post is an excerpt from Leading from the edge of possibility, a book by Chutisa and Steven Bowman. You can order the book “Leading from the Edge of Possibility 2nd Edition”   from Amazon.com