Once a good friend of mine at McKinsey was assigned a young analyst for his team. For some reason, my friend was quite unhappy with the analyst’s performance.

One day, while I was sitting in his room, I overheard him giving feedback to the analyst. He finally said, “These are my expectations and if you are not able to meet them, I will have no choice but to micromanage you.”

Normally, I would not interfere in anyone’s business but this time I could not resist.

I took my friend aside and told him, “Don’t ever tell anyone that you will micromanage them. It is wrong and demoralizes them utterly. It is much kinder to get the HR to give you a replacement.”

My friend was a very well-meaning guy and he immediately acknowledged his error.

Of all the things, micromanaging is probably the worst thing we can do to a team member. When we micromanage someone, we are expecting them to act like us and second-guess what we want. We are setting them up for failure.

At my startup HabitStrong, I sometimes go to the other extreme and my team members may not hear from me for ages.

But micromanaging? No way!

– Rajan


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