You need a conversation, not a rule.

I just found this quote in my drafts, from more than a year ago. I can’t remember where I read it or what prompted me to save it, but holy cow, it still holds true.

Two separate thoughts stand out to me:

  • Micromanaging is essentially death by a thousand papercuts. You can disguise it as “being invested” or “staying informed” for a while, wrapping it up in your good intentions, but over time it becomes painful. Arguably, every behavior serves to attract trust or repel it — micromanaging repels, without a doubt.
  • Reactive managing (see: one employee looks sloppy today, so I create a full page policy of dress code regulations for all one hundred employees) also repels trust. Yes, it’s uncomfortable to have difficult conversations — but 99% of the time, you need that 1:1 conversation much more than you need another rule.

After all, better outcomes (in business and in life) rely on people living UP to our expectations, not down to them — right?

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