Micro-Management Becomes Empowerment

Last week I posted the cover story in Wired called Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops on my Facebook page. It’s an intriguing article about how technology is enabling people to have real-time, personalized feedback about everything from their energy consumption, to their speed over the zoned limit, to performance at work. The big takeaway was that when people can monitor how they’re doing individually, and not through an authority such as their power company or their boss, then they tend to self-regulate. It’s why those big digital speed displays saying “Your Speed Is” work better than the threat of a ticket. As with much of the interesting feedback on behavior, there’s also science to back the findings up.

I’m still thinking of the ramifications of this for leadership. Sure, we have metrics. But they are generally used in some form of micro-management, a.k.a. to “turn the screws” or “sharpen someone’s pencil.” This shows up in how we deliver them. What would change, if we internalized the fact that providing metrics actually empowers employees to self-manage? We’d undoubtedly deliver the message differently with different outcomes.

Here’s the article in case you missed it. Would love to hear your thoughts…


About kristihedges
Executive coach, leadership development consultant, Forbes.com blogger, Entrepreneur.com contributor, author of Power of Presence (AMACOM).

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