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The Difference between Micromanagement and Accountability

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I’ve never met anyone who likes to be micromanaged. Unfortunately I’ve observed many church staff teams who confuse micromanagement and accountability. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a young church staff member express frustration and cry out about the injustice of being micromanaged when their supervisor was simply holding them accountable for basic results. On the other hand I’ve seen church staff members micromanage other staff and even volunteers while claiming that they were just trying to hold people accountable to results and outcomes.

Micromanagement Focuses on the Process: Micromanagement usually cares more about doing things the right way rather than doing the right things.

Accountability Focuses on the Outcome: Accountability is zeroed in on the outcomes we are producing and holding team members accountable to clear measurable results.

Micromanagement Says “Check with me first:” Micromanagers feel the need to have their hands on the wheel at all times. Before any decision can be made it has to come back to their desk.

Accountability Says “Figure it out:” Accountability is fine with not only delegating tasks to team members but empowering them and trusting them to figure out solutions and make good decisions.

Micromanagement Thinks the Worst: Micromanagers don’t think anyone can do it as well as they can and that their way is not only the right way, but the only way.

Accountability Thinks the Best: Accountability believes the best in people and clarifies when things are a bit confusing or feel “off.”

Micromanagement Produces Frustration: Micromanagers live in a perpetual state of frustration, with everything. And worse they create frustration in their team members.

Accountability Produces Results: High accountability to results produces…you guessed it…results! And usually good ones.

Photo Credit: jonny2love Flickr via Compfight cc


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