Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The too helpful leader

We've all heard of the 'micro-manager' - the guy/gal who is always hovering on your shoulder and deep down doesn't really trust us to get on. However just as common, but less acknowledged, is the 'too helpful manager'. These are the well-intentioned folk who can't help taking other people's problems on themselves, and define leadership in terms of the number of issues they've managed to fix in the day. Throw in a soup├žon of control freakery and you've got a wonderful recipe for dis-empowerment.

For these managers coaching is often a struggle, as they see their role as the expert who has to provide all the answers. Coaching someone else to learn for themselves can therefore come as a bit of a shock, and more than the odd  leading question is known to creep into the dialogue. 

While of course problems must be fixed, the too helpful manager  deprives their team of the opportunity to find their own way and make their own mistakes ie. grow and develop. Net result - the too helpful boss perpetually has to keep helping out and becomes a bottleneck on their own team performance.

Perhaps time for a redefinition of what is helpful?

Thanks to Jock McNeish for the wonderful cartoon.

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