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Micromanagement leads to bad consequences

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Name: Merissa Himraj
Company: Wavemaker South Africa
Duration: 2 years Staff: 60

She was named South Africa’s most admired media person in 2024 and heads up a media solutions company. Merissa Himraj is strategic with her management style but admits the laptop goes with her when she goes on holiday.

How did you get this job?

I joined Wavemaker in August 2014 as a business unit manager, before taking on the role of CEO of SSA (Sub-Saharan Africa).


How did you start out in the field?

My career started in finance. I was a financial manager and did media planning, finance, and HR.

They say there is a difference between being a manager and a leader. Which one are you?

A Leader. While both leadership and management are essential for organisational success, effective leaders often possess vision, inspiration, empowerment, emotional intelligence, adaptability, strategic thinking, and a willingness to take risks. By embodying these qualities, leaders can inspire their teams to achieve exceptional results and confidently navigate complex challenges.

Is having a micromanager in the office a bad thing and why?

Yes, while some managers may feel that micromanaging ensures quality and control, it typically leads to a host of negative consequences that outweigh any perceived benefits. Encouraging trust, autonomy, and accountability among employees fosters a more positive and productive work environment.


If a stranger sits next to you on a plane and asks you what your company does, what would you say?

We shape communication and grow brands through our amazing data, technology and media solutions. We ask provocative questions that make you think about your brand differently.

What have you found to be the biggest misconception about your company?

Some people think that Wavemaker is a “young” agency, due to the name change that happened in 2018. In reality, we have been around since 1996.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The role of a CEO comes with numerous challenges, but one of the most significant is the need to balance competing priorities and make decisions that affect the entire organisation. This role is multifaceted and demanding, requiring strong leadership skills, strategic thinking, resilience, and the ability to inspire and motivate others.


When you go on a holiday with family and friends, do you take your laptop with you and why?

Yes, I take it with me, I do need to be accessible and manage any emergency that might arise. What I am good at is keeping boundaries and respecting that I am with my family, so I have strict rules on when I check emails or respond.

What has been your biggest crisis as CEO and how did you navigate the company through this storm?

Being responsible for so many staff and their well-being is a big responsibility, and I have had many learnings. Putting people first while also growing careers and capabilities in a changing landscape will always be a challenge that CEOs navigate.

A colleague is not meeting targets. What is the first thing you do to handle this situation?

The first step when a colleague is not meeting targets is to approach the situation with empathy, open-mindedness, and a desire to understand the root cause of the issue.


What is your vision as CEO for the people working in your company?

To be the best of themselves, to push boundaries and to positively provoke growth for themselves and their clients.

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