Your business is your baby and your livelihood. You started it by yourself and have tirelessly nurtured it into what it is today. However, if you feel the need to control everything, know everything, and get involved in every little aspect of your team’s work—you might be a micromanager. I get it, it’s difficult to loosen the reigns and trust others to care about your business the way you do. But if you continue to micromanage, you are going to create a toxic work environment. Luckily, you can change your behavior!
Here are five reasons to stop micromanaging and five tips on how to stop from top business leaders:
1. Reduce Turnover
2. Increase Productivity
3. Increase Morale
4. Increase Time to Spend on Higher-Priority Items
5. Decrease Stress on You and Your Team
Five Tips to Stop Micromanaging
1. Manage Expectations, Not Tasks: Managers usually spend a decent amount of time telling their teams what needs to be done. Sometimes what needs to be done and what is expected is different. Effective leaders will do their best to ensure each individual member of a team knows what is expected. Once everyone is in sync with expectations, there is no need to micromanage. It is about outcomes, not activity.
2. Trust Your Team: Many micromanagers do so because they have trust issues. They don’t trust that someone else can do the job as well as they would do it. Confront your personal issues and then seek to empower your team to succeed. If they are doing the task differently than you would do it, ask questions to gain understanding rather than criticizing while also providing constructive feedback.
3. Adopt a Fail-Forward Attitude: Perfectionism is often one of the reasons behind micromanaging. If you want your team to learn and grow, you must allow them a certain amount of autonomy. Allow your team to learn through failure and openly discuss lessons learned. By adopting a fail-forward attitude, your team will achieve success much faster. Your job is to act as a coach. To develop others, you must guide, not steer.
4. Focus on Managing Your Culture: Smart leaders are more concerned about managing their culture than they are about managing their people. Leaders can communicate with clarity about values, beliefs, and behaviors that should be embodied in the culture of a company. When employees understand how and why a leader thinks like they do, then they aspire to complete tasks and projects according to the values of the culture.
5. Delegate: A good manager trains and delegates, and you can’t do that if you’re taking on everything yourself—regardless of how important the task is. Start by determining what work is critical for you to be involved in (e.g. strategic planning) and what items are less important (e.g. taking inventory of a tech’s truck). Look at your to-do list to determine which low-hanging fruit you can pass on to a team member. You should also highlight the priorities on your list, meaning the big-ticket items where you truly add value, and ensure you are spending most of your energy on those. Ensure your team has the skills (train them), clearly explain expectations, set limits, and manage outcomes.