You can't empower if you're micromanaging

by MPA31 Jul 2014

By David Lykken
Special to MPA

In order to get the results you need to see your business grow, your people need to feel liberated to make the best decisions possible on a day-to-day basis. They need to have the freedom to make the calls when they need to be made. Employee empowerment is the gateway to both creativity and productivity.

While most leaders understand this in principle, many leaders dismiss it in practice. All to often, we prefer control to empowerment. We spend so much time monitoring their performance that our people don't feel enough freedom to perform. All too often, we fall into micromanaging.

Micromanagement is the antithesis of great leadership. I don't recall who initially said it, but I've always liked the maxim, "Great leaders hire great people and then get out of their way." If you have taken the time to get the right people on your team, you should trust them enough to do their jobs.

If you micromanage them, you're going to get just enough out of them to get by. If you empower them, on the other hand, you're going to get out of them everything you hired them for. Which sounds better to you?

David Lykken is 40-year industry veteran who has been an owner operator of three mortgage banking companies and a software company. As co-founder and Managing Partner of Mortgage Banking Solutions, David consults on virtually all aspects of mortgage banking with special emphasis executive leadership development, corporate strategic direction and implementation as well as mergers & acquisitions. A regular contributor on CNBC and Fox Business News, David also hosts a successful weekly radio program called “Lykken On Lending” ( that is heard each Monday at noon (Central Standard Time) by thousands of mortgage professionals. Recently he started producing a 1-minute video called “Today’s Mortgage Minute” that appears on hundreds of television, radio and newspaper websites daily across America.


  • by | 7/31/2014 10:15:01 AM

    This is obviously and ideal and great point but the problem I see and others in leadship roles as well see in this industry is when you delegate responsibilities and "get out of their way" as we'd all like to, this industry has caused such a scare or timidness for people to make any type of the most minute mistakes because of mountains being turned into mole hills that they are scared to make any decisions for themselves even though you encourage it and then you are in a vicious cycle of them coming to you for every little issue to get your "approval" for their solution or they want you to give the solution to "pass the buck". This is not an efficient way to run a business and you find yourself always working in and on files versus improving the overall business and getting new business in the door. This is the same for new LO's, Processors, assistants etc as it relates to handling actual parts of the transaction.

  • by DA | 8/1/2014 11:21:33 AM

    The point was hiring 'good' people and getting out of their way. Not hiring inept people. But the other thing is a good leader assesses training needs all the time. When new people are hired likely there will be some training needs. A good leader provides the training either through a mentoring process or through actual classes. People who are allowed some room for growth, will make mistakes. It is how the leader responds to those mistakes that will make or break his system of management. Making mountains out of molehills never works. I knew a manager once who said 'If you aren't making mistakes, you aren't working.' In other words he didn't expect 100% perfection and a 0% error rate. Stuff happens, mistakes are made, fix it and move on. That goes along with style being discussed in the article.


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