Micromanaging is defined as a manager or owner’s insistence on having a say in an employee’s work at every level, and at every opportunity. And honestly, every manager does it to some extent. The primary reasons include the belief that you can simply do a task better yourself, and the fear that poor employee performance will reflect badly on you.
The truth is more bad can come from micromanaging than good. It can destroy employee relationships because your reports will resent you for keeping them from doing their jobs—especially if they know they can do it better. And it isn’t good for your career, since your own productivity will inevitably suffer as you work on your employee’s tasks instead of focusing on what you should be doing as the leader.
Avoid micromanaging by giving your employees the freedom to accomplish tasks in their own fashion, even if the occasional mistake is made. Make your expectations clear at the beginning of a task, and once you are certain that everyone understands what needs to be accomplished, step back and keep your hands out of it. As long as employees are getting the results the company expects, don’t be so concerned with process. Remember it’s quite possible that they have a more efficient system for accomplishing a task than you do simply through repetition.
If the temptation to micromanage is too great to resist, try setting up regular check-in meetings with your reports so that you can receive updates and provide guidance. Avoid spontaneously calling them, e-mailing them, or appearing in their offices unannounced at any other time. Also consider creating an anonymous survey for your reports that assesses how much—and on what—they feel they are being micromanaged, and what other courses of action they would suggest to lessen its impact.
Being a good leader means the ability to develop and empower people so that they can contribute autonomously. Even if it’s uncomfortable now, and runs against your wish to oversee things down to the minutest detail, in the long run it will be worth the effort on your part.
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/89studio