We’ve all heard the sayings “There is no I in team” or “Teamwork makes the dream work!” But what does it take to have a happily functioning team, where trust and morale are strong? Stop micromanaging your team.
There is nothing like an incessant micromanager to create uncertainty and curtail confidence. “If your mind is filled with the micro-level details of a number of jobs, there’s no room for big picture thoughts,” says Karen Dillon, author of the HBR Guide to Office Politics. Trusting in your team to step up their job performance and to make important decisions instills confidence and encourages strong leadership qualities.
How to make that dream team a reality? Here are a few tips on building trust and pulling back on micromanaging tendencies:
Let go of the reins a bit.
“You need to understand where this is coming from,” says Dillon. “Most likely it’s because of some insecurity—you’re afraid it will reflect badly on you if your team doesn’t do something exactly the way you would do it or you’re worried you’ll look out of touch if you’re not immersed in the details, so you overcompensate,” she says. Train your team, then delegate responsibilities. You can’t take it all on yourself; that is why you hired a team in the first place! But be available to support and coach your team; you don’t want to pull back so far that they are left wondering if their leader went on a permanent vacation.
Tell your team your goals and your vision for each project, and let them know how you will support their efforts. Ensure that everyone knows their role and encourage them to collaborate when necessary. Make it clear when you need to be involved and how to communicate with you. Remember: seek and give honest feedback to ensure projects are operating smoothly.
Recognize and reward diverse paths to success.
As a leader, it’s important to recognize that your way of doing things is not the only Your team has a diverse set of skills and talents and you should capitalize on that instead of stifle it. Recognize others’ unique strengths and help them grow by giving them space to do things their way. It may be difficult to take a step back and let your team work the way they want to, but it is the best way for talents to rise to the surface.
Be a cheerleader.
If you want to build trust in your team, allow them to shine. Don’t let micromanaging tendencies stifle confidence. Lead by trusting in the team dynamic and encouraging them to bring their best selves to the table. When they succeed, which they will in this environment, lift up their successes to greater visibility within the organization. By shining a light on your staff’s accomplishments, there is no threat to you, as you will simultaneously demonstrate how your leadership, trust, and encouragement produce greater teamwork and results.
Trusting your team and peers will create a harmonious workplace where team members will feel that their work matters and that they are contributing to the big picture. Next time you feel the need to micromanage that spreadsheet Sally is working on, or peer over John’s shoulder as he types up that report, resist the urge and trust your team’s abilities. Now that’s a dream come true.