How often have you heard someone complain that their team leader is micromanaging? The truth is, a lot of the time, leaders don’t even know they’re micromanaging. And while micromanaging might not be our intent, unfortunately, the person we’re leading is the one who decides whether or we’re assigned this dreaded label.

So what exactly is micromanaging, and how can we avoid being the much-detested micromanager?

Micromanagement Defined describes micromanagement as a “management style where the boss or manager controls every aspect, no matter how small of the work done by his or her employees.”

This type of management tends to create an environment in which employees don’t feel trusted to do the job they were hired to do, and it promotes a high turnover rate due to employees feeling demoralized.

According to a 2019 report by Kimble, 74% of surveyed U.S. workers prefer a collaborative work environment. Seventy-two percent of this group of workers said they would like to take on more responsibility. Rather than hover over every project, the ideal manager will inspire and motivate their employees to do this while maintaining a good balance of monitoring performance.

Tips to Help You Avoid Micromanaging Your Employees

  1. Delegate responsibilities. Great leaders aren’t the best at everything. They find people who are the best at different things and get them on the same team.” Companies with CEOs who delegate effectively have greater overall business growth than those with CEOs who do not, as found by a study run by Gallup. 
  2. Hire the right people for the job and trust they’ve got it covered. You hired them because you believe in their capabilities, so don’t doubt them unless given a reason to do so. 
  3. Communicate expectations for the job to employees by explaining the required outcomes. Be sure to give them adequate resources to achieve those results, and among these resources will be opportunities to seek help and knowledge on the subject.  
  4. Establish project milestones and get updates from employees involved in each project as milestones are approached.
  5. Instead of requiring exhaustive and detailed updates at every turn, ask employees to provide brief overviews and show you key portions of their work at specified intervals. 
  6. Offer broad constructive feedback and spend less time on the nitty gritty. If the work is genuinely not up to par, let your employees know what they need to do to fix it. 
  7. Some employees may need to be managed more closely than others. You can make this decision by knowing the project and the employee. High-level projects often require more input than low-level tasks, so less-experienced employees may have more questions or need more oversight.
  8. Finally, consider investing in Human Resources coaching. This may be beneficial for:
    • Managers who were mentored by micromanagers and have only worked in that type of environment in the past
    • Managers with good intentions that just want their employees to succeed but don’t realize they are micromanaging
    • Managers who fear their employees will fail and therefore micromanage in an effort to achieve desired results

Avoiding micromanagement will help your employees grow, help your organization better achieve its goals, and help your leaders effectively inspire, motivate, and engage their teams to achieve continued success.

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