These are unprecedented times. My guess is many of your employees are working from home full time or at least part of the time. As a manager, the temptation might be to check in with your employees to make sure they are getting their tasks accomplished. Doing this too often, offering constant feedback, or stepping in to do the work is a sign you are a micromanager. What kind of culture does that produce?
For one, it sends the message you don’t trust your employees to do their job. Imagine how you would feel if your boss, who controls your income, continually asks how you are coming along with your work. Then they tell you how to do the work. What kind of morale would you have day to day? This then leads to…
Overdependence on the manager. When you continually tell the employee how to do their work, they get the message and become disengaged. Like a trained dog, they will sit there until you tell them what to do next.
If your employees all act this way, which you trained them to do, you will become overwhelmed. This will lead to stress, which often manifests itself by even more micromanagement. Your team will lack organization, the ability to self-direct, and no motivation to perform.
Focusing daily on the small details of the job doesn’t allow your team to work on the big picture or project. Micro suggestions on unimportant aspects of a project won’t support the larger goals of the company. It’s also impossible to manage everything that occurs within a larger organization.
What can you do to not be a micromanager?
1. Set a few metrics or objectives for a project and don’t get involved in any of the work processes
Let your employees know what the objectives, metrics, and timeline are for a project, ensure they understand and let them do their work. Set pre-determined tollgate reviews and stick to those dates for getting updates.
2. Let your employees know they can come to you for help, coaching, or advice
Now that you have set tollgate review dates, make sure your employees understand they can always come to you with questions, coaching, or advice. They might want input from others in the company and you can suggest who they meet with.
Maybe you can offer advice on where to collect needed data. There are many ways you can offer advice but stay out of how they complete the work.
3. Let your employees know how soon they can expect a response from you for deliverables
Make sure they understand how quickly you will respond to deliverables they provide. Will it take you a week? A few days? Also, let them know what format you will provide the feedback. This eliminates surprises that can ruin morale.
I know that if you follow these three tips you will begin the process of eliminating being a micromanager!
As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!
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