Whether you’re an entrepreneur who has recently opened his first office and hired the first set of people, or an eager-to-please manager, micromanaging tendencies can set in any time.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. Some people confuse being a hands-on boss with micromanaging their staff. Others take it too far in the opposite direction. You want to avoid both extremes, and like a true enlightened being, walk the middle path to find your peace.
The Tendency to Micromanage
If you feel you have the tendency to micromanage, ask yourself why do you feel the need for it? Not getting psychoanalytical here but this is a pertinent question. Some of the common reasons for micromanagement include:
A lack of trust in employees
Some people have the bad habit of abusing Internet privileges or coming in consistently late or complaining about the boss to others on Skype. You will run into such employees from time to time, but that shouldn’t cause you to think that they are all the same.
You think your employees are incompetent
If you genuinely feel your employees are no good and that they cannot perform without constant supervision on your part, you need to ask yourself why you hired them in the first place. And in case you discovered their alleged incompetence after having hired them, why are you still persisting with them?
You’re a perfectionist
A number of factors inspire controlling behavior, and a refusal to accept anything less than “perfect” is one of them. But beware. “If you try to control everything they do, employees will end up feeling patronized by you and will begin to resent you. If you get too hung up on the details and constantly point out what they are doing wrong, your coworkers will assume you dislike their entire body of work and will start preforming poorly.” – Don’t micromanage your employees.
What to Do about It
Employees look to their bosses for direction. Your aim is to provide guidance and lead your team along clear paths with well-defined goals. When this guidance or clarity isn’t forthcoming, it leads to confused behavior not just on part of the employees but also on the part of the leader. And that is why we recommend the following:
Convey Clear Expectations to Your Team
If you find yourself fighting the urge to oversee every small detail of your employees’ functioning, you might want to ask yourself if your employees really know what is expected of them.
What are your expectations from your employees and have you conveyed these to them in clear and unambiguous terms?
Put Stock in Key Performance Indicators
Set strong and clear goals, or more specifically key performance indicators, for all your departments to meet on a quarterly basis. Meet every fortnight to check if you are on course to achieving your quarterly goals. These frequent meetings and proceeding along a set of indicators will reinforce in the minds of your staff the organizational and team member goals, thus reducing the need for you to intervene in the meantime.
Admit Your Real Fears and Check if they are Rational
Acting out of suspicion is rarely productive, but pretending that all is well, even when you are clearly beset with worries, isn’t helpful either. If something is bothering you, it’s better to address the root cause of it.
For instance, you worry that your employees watch videos for hours during work hours. What has triggered this suspicion? If you must put your suspicions to rest, check the Internet usage of the employee in question. Check if they have been meeting their deadlines and if their work is up to scratch. If the answer to both is yes, then you need not worry about how they spend their time on the Internet.
On the contrary, however, if their work is suffering and they have been missing deadlines of late, you want to act on it sooner than later.
At the risk of sounding like the devil’s advocate, I’d say that some people actually need to be micromanaged. Yes. We all have handled team members and employees who slip the moment we get off their case. It’s not ideal, but seems like you cannot get them to stay in their best and most professional mode all day long. So what do you do with them, other than fire them?
You micromanage them but you get somebody else to do it for you.
As a leader your time is too precious to be wasted keeping an eye on who spent how many hours chatting on Facebook this morning. But you can always appoint people (preferably one person per team) to inform you of the members in their respective teams who aren’t meeting deadlines.
– With a background in training and tech, Mark Nevius helps get the word out about Administrate, which makes time-saving management software for training providers. In addition to assisting in marketing, Mark keeps his finger on the pulse of the training industry and helps provide great content to training providers around the world.
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