When you own a company, it is natural to want all the members of your team to perform well for the sake of meeting goals.
But if you find yourself monitoring every minute of your employee’s work day and doing a complete overhaul of a project, you may be guilty of micromanagement—which is something you do not want to venture in.
Here’s what you should know about micromanagement and how to avoid micromanaging employees:
What Is Micromanagement?
Micromanagement is a type of management style. It describes a manager who is overly observant of their employees’ activities and tries to control much of their output.
Micromanagers nitpick every single detail, and while they may have good intentions, their over-involvement can be harmful to employees and the organization as a whole. Some signs of micromanagement include:
- Every task needs approval: If your employees are required to ask for approval during every step of a process, that’s a telltale sign of micromanagement.
- Your team does not know what to do: If a manager takes on too many tasks, the rest of the team suffers. They should start each day knowing what projects they will work on.
- Little to no room for flexibility: If things have to strictly be done a certain way, it can prevent the company from improving productivity and does not allow team members to fully use their talents.
- Toxic mentorship: Another effect of a manager carrying the weight of the company is the team feeling unmotivated and having no sense of fulfillment. Employees may believe their manager does not trust them to do a good job, which can eventually lead to them wanting to find employment elsewhere.
6 Tips on Avoiding Micromanagement in Your Company
1. Learn How to Delegate
Knowing the art of delegation is key to making the most out of your team’s strengths and talents. If you do not know how to assign them tasks, you may accidentally be micromanaging them.
You want to give them their share of responsibilities and the room to explore completing them. Do not give them a step-by-step process. Instead, tell them what the goal of the task is and make sure they have the resources to accomplish it.
2. Establish Expectations
Expectations must be set from the get-go. If your employees do not know the reason behind a project, they will be unable to perform the way you want them to.
The task should not only be clear to the manager in charge—everyone working on it must be familiar with its objectives, too. Make sure they know how this project contributes to the company as a whole. By setting expectations, you let them know what they should accomplish and not how they should accomplish it. This will make all the difference.
3. Be an Effective Communicator
Micromanagement can happen as a result of poor communication. If there are several last-minute corrections to a project, that means the instructions were not properly conveyed.
It is necessary to be detailed when giving instructions to the team right at the start of every project. Employees should know how they are doing and what to improve on. As any business consultant would recommend, a manager should not be correcting it themselves.
What is left unsaid is also important. If a manager only gives critical feedback, it can destroy an employee’s motivation to do a good job. The good output should also be recognized, no matter how small a task is.
4. Do Not Go for Perfection
There is no such thing as perfect. Managers have to accept that mistakes and even failures may happen. When they do, micromanagement can stop.
There are several ways to solve a problem. Allow employees to explore them. If a project is not going as well as anticipated, it does not necessarily mean failure. Think of it instead as a lesson employees can learn from.
5. Hire Your Employees Right
Your choice of employees can make or break your company. Either they will be assets to the organization or costly mistakes. This is a harsh way of putting things, but it is the truth.
If you hire someone who is underqualified or does not have the right skills, there is a higher chance they will be micromanaged versus a good employee. The rest of the team will also be unhappy since they may end up doing the other person’s job.
6. Build Trust
Having a good relationship with your employees is one of the best ways to avoid micromanagement.
When trust is reciprocated between a leader and employees, your team will feel more comfortable sharing their opinions—including that of your management skills. Use this feedback to learn what you should continue doing and where you should improve.
Avoiding micromanagement does not mean you should stop critiquing your employees’ work or hand off all your responsibilities to them. A good leader does not do these, either, as any startup expert would tell you.
Instead, be a better communicator and learn to trust your team. You do not have to hold their hand every step of the way, but you can be a guide who provides them with the resources and support to accomplish their goals and grow stronger as individuals.