Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the Danger of Micro Managing
Updated: Nov 22, 2019
To know something about a phenomenon we must measure it. To measure it, we are forced to affect it.
This is a physics concept that was originally penned in 1927 by German physicist Heisenberg and in recent memory earned some notoriety with AMC. While Heisenberg was referring to physical phenomenon, we can abstract this lesson to our role as leaders and the deleterious impact of micro-managing.
Auditing and observing your team as a leader can be a great tool for your team’s growth and development. Beware, however, of trying to observe and provide input so closely that you might prevent your staff from ever making a mistake. It might seem like a “best practice” to step in and try to avoid all possible staff mistakes, but this level of micro managing would effect how the members of your team performed, hurting their confidence and, ironically, tending to diminish their performance.
Your team needs space to execute and occasionally err. If you put them under a microscope, you will change their behavior.
As leaders, especially for those of us prone to this tendency, we would be wise to be aware of the negative effects of micro managing. Check in, offer to pitch in, but give your team members the space to feel comfortable trying and occasionally even failing. You will develop stronger leaders with deeper trust and respect for you.