Are You Micromanaging to Death? How to Spot and Avoid It
As a manager, are you:
- Frequently frustrated by the way employees approach tasks?
- Continually checking up on your team to see what they’re working on?
- Always developing additional processes and forms to ensure work gets done properly?
- Adamant that your staff Cc’s you on emails?
If you responded “yes” to even one of these questions, then we have news for you: you’re probably micromanaging your employees to death.
You may have the best of intentions. Who can blame you for paying attention to details and making sure work is completed the right way? But all that hovering, nitpicking and need for reassurance comes at a high price: stifling creativity, diminishing productivity, undermining trust and demoralizing your employees. Plus, it wastes a ton of your time and energy!
Micromanaging is one of the biggest complaints among workers. So don’t do it. Use these strategies to “loosen up the reins” a bit:
Change one behavior at a time.
Ending micromanagement isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. Acknowledge that the process will take time and sustained effort. Instead of trying to quit “cold turkey,” focus on replacing one bad habit at a time with a more effective one.
Check your need for status updates.
As a manager, you undeniably need to be in-the-loop on key projects. But if you find yourself constantly inquiring about employees’ routine tasks, take a step back. Trust your team to do the jobs they were trained to do.
Keep instructions simple.
When assigning work, provide essential information to workers, but avoid the temptation to over-explain yourself. Your employees are smart and want to learn. Show that you trust and value them by allowing them to think for themselves.
Use a sound decision-making process to choose tasks that you can completely remove from your plate. Then, follow these steps to set your “delegee” up for success – without micromanaging:
- State the goal for the task clearly, describing what success looks like.
- Provide clear guidelines for completing work, focusing on the “what” (i.e., deliverables and deadlines), not the “how.”
- Be available to answer questions and provide feedback – if and when the employee needs it.
- Build-in time for revisions.
- Give your delegee the time, resources and authority they need to do the job.
- Let go!
- Review results once work is completed and provide ample recognition for a job well done.
Empowering employees to accomplish their work free from micromanagement benefits all parties involved. Your staff’s productivity and motivation will soar, and you’ll gain valuable time to devote to your core responsibilities.
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