Have you ever worked with a manager whose main approach to leadership was “my way or the highway?” Every decision you made, every project you worked on was carefully scrutinized. And there was the constant feeling of someone looking over your shoulder, waiting for you to make a mistake.
I know I’ve experienced leadership like that! When I was leading a fundraising team for a major organization, one of my managers constantly held me under his thumb, sometimes forcing me to make decisions regarding my team that I didn’t want to make. He didn’t trust me—or anyone, for that matter—to take action without his input. This atmosphere of distrust and restriction made it difficult to go to work every day. How can anyone do their job when they are immersed in such a toxic and demeaning environment?
I realize, of course, that not every micro-manager is a power-hungry bully that likes to exert dominance over his staff. Many micro-managers are well-intentioned and take great pride in every detail of their work. After all, it’s their name on the line, right?
No matter the intention, the outcome is the same. Micro-managing causes more harm than good. According to an article by Christina Bielaszka-DuVernay of the Harvard Business Review, “A consistent pattern of micromanagement tells an employee you don’t trust his work or his judgment; it is a major factor in triggering disengagement.” The article goes on to cite evidence from Gallup Press that “absenteeism caused by disengagement costs a typical 10,000-person company $600,000 a year in salary for days where no work was performed, and that ‘disengagement-driven turnover costs most sizable businesses millions every year.’”
Do you want to avoid alienating your team and causing so much dread that they scatter like flies every time you come around the corner? Stop micromanaging with these tips:
Put down the hover board.
No one wants to be checked up on every hour of the day. Think about what a time waster you are being—and time does equal money. Learn to trust your employees with the tasks you give them and set clear expectations. Encourage them to communicate with you on their progress—at their own discretion.
Get to know what makes your employees tick. Set up individual meetings to understand their working preferences and match them to projects well suited to their interests and strengths. It will keep them engaged while also helping to ease your mind.
Learn to delegate.
It’s impossible to control every little detail of your department; trust your team to help you get the work done. Your job is to see the big picture and set the vision for success. If your staff has been appropriately trained, chances are they will be able to handle the work independently and will appreciate you giving them opportunities to shine. If something goes wrong, that will be a far better learning ground than if you micro-manage and constantly tell staff what may go wrong with any of their planned approaches. By delegating, you have more time to accomplish your own tasks and your staff will become more proficient—a win/win situation!
Appreciate diversity of thought.
Be aware that your team might approach a project differently than you would or produce different results. That’s okay! There is often more than one correct way to complete a project or task and it’s helpful—not harmful—to have a diverse set of perspectives.
Provide feedback and praise.
If you are always on the lookout for mistakes, your team will quickly feel stifled and defeated, and productivity will likely cease. See the positives in each of your employees and let them know when they are doing a solid job. If there is a situation where an employee is not meeting expectations, sit down with them and take the time to figure out what is going on.
Micromanaging is no way to build a great team and work environment. Refocus your management style by utilizing these tips and start building trust and confidence in your leadership.
Have you manifested into a micromanager? Contact me for help on turning you into a manager that leads!