Leaders can make or break their teams and brands through their actions. Unfortunately, many leaders sabotage their teams without even realising where they're going wrong.
They take on too much - all the tough assignments and additional work - they want to do it all and have a fear of missing out (FOMO).
Ultimately, this leads to a lot of problems that adversely affect their teams and brand.
In this article, we're going to look at 7 ways overcommitment can cause leaders to inadvertently sabotage team dynamics and brand culture.
1. Overcommitment Leads to Micromanagement
Being overcommitted as a leader often leads to micromanagement, particularly for leaders of small teams.
Micromanagement is a management style whereby the manager tries to monitor or supervise every single detail in the team or workplace. It's the opposite of trusting your team members, granting them liberty, and showing them that you have faith in their abilities to complete their assigned tasks.
As a leader, you need to set an example with your behavior. But, when you micromanage your team, you are sending the wrong message - mainly that you don't trust your team to effectively do the job you hired them for.
Some managers would argue that one of the advantages of micromanagement is the inclusion of experience at expertise levels, but when you start micromanaging your team, you run the risk of diminishing your employees’ trust in you and alienating them.
Even worse, you might end up making them dependent on micromanagement which would only perpetuate this destructive cycle caused by overcommitment in leaders.
This image shows how and why micromanagement is the death of team performance:
So, instead of micromanaging your team, rather keep a keen interest in the different parts of the workflow so you can give yourself a better chance of improving collaboration, seeing mistakes, foreseeing failures, and working to prevent them without micromanaging your team.
2. Overcommitment Reduces Employee Autonomy
With more and more people working from home, autonomy at work is now more important than ever. The more autonomy employees have, the higher the level of job satisfaction they experience.
Workforces that operate by their own rules and at their own pace feel more satisfied. For them, the results of hard work are linked to personal achievements and so every task gives them a reason to feel fulfilled in what they do.
However, overcommitted leaders tend to exhibit leadership behaviours that undermine that message to the team.
For example, employees look to their leader to discover the level of self-government offered to them. And while the manager may want them to have the freedom to complete the job they were hired to do, they may also believe that showing employees "the right way" to do things would speed things up.
Unfortunately, this is not the way to build a workplace that brings out creativity from the workforce. This lack of trust leads to employees failing to give their best effort at work and results in lower productivity overall.
Supplementary reading: Learning About What Truly DRIVEs People
Thalita Ferraz, founder of HerBones.com explains, “I was an absolute tyrant of a manager and didn’t even realise it. I had a hard time trusting my remote employees with simple tasks and stifled their creativity. I was told this by one of my most trusted employes and ever since I took a step back and gave them creative freedom in creating content, I’ve seen an amazing increase in productivity.”
Managers that understand how important autonomy is to success at work will be able to build productive teams, whereas overcommitted leaders will likely sabotage their teams by failing to offer them much-needed autonomy in their day-to-day processes.
3. Overcommitment Leads to an Authoritarian Culture
Overcommitted leaders often forget they are only human - and that everyone else is too. They want to do a great job and build a strong reputation but they can't always see what they are doing to their minds or their bodies.
For the most part, they just keep going on and on until eventually they just stop. And while all this is taking place, overcommitted leaders often create an authoritarian culture in the workplace.
In fact, some might even describe such a situation as a form of bullying since it's about the manager seeking control.
Regardless of what you'd call it, there's no doubt that such a culture in the workplace often has a negative impact on the mental health of employees. It leaves employees feeling humiliated, belittled, and disenfranchised. This results in a drastic reduction in confidence, motivation, and work performance.
4. Overcommitment Create Stress and Burnout
Whenever there is overcommitment among leaders, it isn't long before fatigue sets in everywhere. Overcommitted leaders are constantly overwhelmed with tons of projects and an impossible workload where it’s impossible to keep deadlines straight.
For them, asking for help is out of the question and although they may not even be in control of which stage each of their assignments is in, they have no problem taking on more work.
This means more work for their team, as well, which leads to stress and burnout for everyone involved.
When employees are forced to work in a stressful environment, it can lead to demotivation and health issues such as:
- Sleep problems
- Deteriorating self-esteem
- Lack of confidence
- Decreased motivation
- Fear of being demoted
- Fear of being retaliated against
- Fear of losing their job
- … and so on.
As a manager, this is something you must avoid at all costs because stressed minds can't perform at their best, and employees who feel burned out have very little to offer your organisation. Make sure to support your team by listening to their difficulties and asking them to freely discuss the problem with you.
5. Overcommitment Leads to Increased Employee Turnover
Yet another way that overcommitted leaders sabotage their teams and brands is by causing increased employee turnover.
Of course, there are many reasons why an organisation might experience turnover. But, if you are seeing higher than normal turnover rates in your company, it could have something to do with management, more specifically, the effect overcommitted leaders have on employees.
When employees leave, they take any learned knowledge with them and offer it up to the competition. Given the ever-rising costs of rehiring, the last thing your organisation wants is a high turnover rate.
However, you'll find it hard to retain employees when you have micromanaging leaders. In most cases, this annoys employees who quickly disengage or even quit.
It's nearly impossible to build rapport and trust within a team if the members are continually changing and that's why it's crucial to address any employee turnover issues quickly.
Depending on the cause of high employee turnover, place resources into dealing with the issues so you can retain quality employees and save yourself from future losses.
If they are happening because of things such as micromanagement, lack of autonomy, authoritarian culture, lack of proper work breakdown structure and communication or any of the other reasons mentioned here, then you can take the additional time to find the right balance between empowerment of your employees and your supervision of them.
6. Overcommitment Leads to More Complaints
Yet another downfall of micromanagement is that it causes employees to complain about the company. Some of these complaints may be public which could prove harmful to your brand.
For example, you might have come across employees from some company that you're familiar with complaining online about unrealistic deadlines or not being valued enough at the workplace. So whether your team is working on marketing automation, social media marketing, or email campaigns, it’s important to keep a healthy commitment.
These types of complaints are usually on social media where those people have audiences of hundreds, if not thousands of users. This is a very quick way to tarnish your brand’s reputation, and it's something you must address as quickly as possible.
Unrealistic deadlines are likely to be the major complaint where overcommitted leaders are concerned, and good leadership dictates that you understand the expectations that you have on your team.
So, if one or more of your team members is scrambling to meet your goals, they may end up putting forward subpar work.
Another common complaint from employees is that they don't feel valued. This often happens with overcommitted leaders who lack the time necessary to work on making team members feel appreciated for the part they play.
So what's the solution?
A great way to avoid complaints like these is to provide support and advice to your team. But rather than micromanaging, only step in whenever it's needed.
You can also create resources for employees that they can use when they have questions about the work process, standard operating procedures, or brand culture.
For example, you can create an in-house database full of videos created using webinar tools, text-based articles, forums, and much more to offer resources, tips, advice, and answers to commonly asked questions.
Some of this content can even be cross-shared outside your workspace. Instead of just creating material for your employees, you can integrate workplace and general brand culture with a variety of online course platforms, podcast hosting software, and a variety of other digital technologies.
Using these, you can teach employees and your larger audience of consumers, followers, and brand ambassadors about professional communication, how to increase productivity at work, and much more.
And when you do step in, it should never be to take control, but rather to make your offer of guidance so that those that need it can make use of your expertise to get the project back on track.
7. Overcommitment Reduces Accountability
If you don't model accountability as a leader, your team won't take it seriously, either. For example, some overcommitted leaders often practice conflict avoidance or have an absence of process.
Ultimately, this teaches everyone that accountability is not taken seriously within your organisation.
If you are overcommitted, you will be unable to:
- Deal with things that are happening within the team, such as missed deadlines
- Handle issues that are not part of your code of conduct
- Create a standard process that ensures accountability
- Delegate with a clear spec for effective communication
- Empower employees by providing them with the resources they need to succeed
- Celebrate (or issue consequences) upon completion of a project
These are all things that build accountability but are next to impossible to achieve if you are an overcommitted leader.
Whether micromanagement is intentional or not, its outcome is always disempowering and frustrating for teams. Fortunately, you can balance commitment to your brand, business, and team with responsible leadership.
Use the tips in this article to help you avoid becoming an overcommitted authoritarian or a micromanager, and instead offer your team members the trust and autonomy they need to unleash their creativity and get things done.
Over to you. Have you fallen prey to any of these micromanagement traits lately? Sound off below!
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