In my Leadership Agenda interview with Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, president of Citizens Bank for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, we talked about management. Take comfort. Even guys at the very top struggle with how to best perform their jobs.
"It's crazy," Fitzpatrick said. "My biggest challenge is trying to do do too much and potentially stretching yourself too thin. That’s something I absolutely need to work on. And I can tend to be too hands on."
"Is that the same thing as micro-managing," I asked him.
Fitzpatrick is a good sport, because he laughed -- he actually laughed a lot.
"It could be," he admitted.
So I asked him about a common problem that the rest of us have. "If you have a boss that's a micro-manager," I asked him, "how can you get that boss to back ... off." (I added an expletive to that sentence, for emphasis.)
"With my direct reports, I actually encourage them to give me candid feedback because the best thing you can do is be candid and I try to be candid," he answered.
I needed a better, more explicit answer, so I asked him the same question, again.
"That’s a great question and I think that’s a challenge," he said. "How do you do it? And how do you do it appropriately? And that’s why I encourage -- including expletives as needed -- my reports to do that. Because I’ve had the good fortune. I’ve not been micromanaged. I think I set a good vision and I think I set a good example as a leader for our people. Because I’m so passionate about customers and people, I can tend to stay too close to it. That’s where you have to let go and allow your colleagues to grow and that’s my opportunity to improve as a leader. I need to do less in order to help them grow."
Tomorrow: Fitzpatrick on why Philadelphia's economy is only firing on four cylinders.