Changing the world of work

From micromanagement to (self-)leadership

With the support of greytogreen, an overburdened leader and his team at a leading semi-conductor manufacturer shift their perceptions of responsibility and accountability.

The challenge

Despite being an experienced manager, I felt stuck. I was worried about the well-being of my coworkers, who had been subjected to a series of difficult reorganizations and had now all but lost their team spirit. I felt that I needed to manage project issues more closely to ensure successful outcomes, but didn’t realize that I had become a serious bottleneck. My team became annoyed at my long response times, while also leaving more and more tasks for me to take care of for them. Overall team performance was suffering badly and I was losing face with my upper management and peers, as I had hardly any time left to properly engage with them.

greytogreen’s approach

We invited the caring, but overburdened manager to participate in a greytogreen workshop, just for himself. With the help of a few additional personal greytogreen coaching sessions, he came to understand his own part in the relationship and chose to let go of some of his own behavior patterns.

The manager realized that the greytogreen process offered a real opportunity to start a meaningful and authentic dialog with his team that he felt would encourage them to embark on a new way of working. He discussed the workshop and coaching sessions he had experienced and together they chose to participate in the greytogreen experience.

We led the team through the core greytogreen workshop, followed by a custom team module with a number of specifically designed scenarios that included how to act more as one team, how to create solid relationships with each other and with their leader, and how to give and assume responsibility in a healthy and productive way.

The results

The manager began to act more freely and take time to focus on the relationships and projects with his top management and peers. Based on the team’s newly gained understanding of how they could take things into their own hands, relationships changed, the team climate improved and productivity went up considerably. The team engaged actively in giving and receiving feedback to each other and realized that they could benefit from some additional support. They asked for a follow-up session, without their manager this time, to further strengthen their newfound skills and their team spirit.

The take-away

Micromanagement lowers performance, and this will not go unnoticed. The manager could not change the relationship and the team patterns unilaterally, however much he invested in personal coaching sessions and leadership development workshops. By experiencing the greytogreen process together with his team and ensuring a follow-up with reinforcing exercises, he was able to stop assuming too much responsibility and his team regained the strength to claim back their own responsibility and the freedom to act.

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