Overbearing managers are what can turn a high-performing team into a group of people who don’t want to come to work at all. Managers who impose too much at work, are obsessed with perfection and want to constantly make sure that nothing goes wrong are definitely not leaders or role models. They want to watch your every move and comment on your every click which can quickly turn any healthy work environment into a pure nightmare.
What’s worse is that sometimes managers themselves don’t know or understand how imposing they are and the harm they’re causing. If you feel like you’re one of those managers, leaders or bosses whose management style goes beyond tactics like management by walking around, this article is definitely for you. We will explore different signs of micromanagement and provide tips on how to stop micromanaging.
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What is Micromanagement?
Let’s try to define the concept of micromanagement first. To put it simply, micromanagement is an attempt by managers or team leaders to control every single aspect of the employers’ work. Micromanagement can take many forms, including spending a significant amount of time during the day watching over employees, questioning them about how and why they do what they do or demand team members to complete tasks in a specific way. Moreover, micromanaging also means ignoring suggestions, ideas or methods presented by team members. Managers who do that are more concerned about observing and questioning employees rather than doing their own work.
Many people who micromanage justify their behavior by claiming that they are simply ensuring that their employees are not slacking and are going to complete the work in a correct manner. However, being a perfectionist and causing problems simply because a worker completed their task using another method does not justify this obsessive behaviour. Micromanagers might think they are improving the efficiency and productivity of their team but instead are decreasing it significantly.
Needless to say, employees who have a healthy relationship with their managers or team leaders are more likely to work better and produce better results. They feel safe enough to communicate concerns, propose innovative solutions and deliver quality work. When a manager, however, micromanages team members, they feel stuck and imprisoned. They feel disappointed and unproductive. This can result in high employee turnover rates, decreased company loyalty and ultimately, big losses for the company or organization.
That’s why it’s important for managers to understand how to stop micromanaging. Constant criticism and observation results in lower productivity levels which results in even bigger criticism and frustration coming from the micromanager. This all ends in a complete vicious cycle that will end badly for everyone.
What are Some Signs of Micromanagement in the Workplace?
✔️ When Managers Place Too Much Importance on Details and Miscellaneous Tasks and Miss the End Goal
Micromanagers place too much importance on small and insignificant to the final objective tasks. Some examples might be how you formatted your email or how you organized files. Such organizational tasks are important but they have little impact on the larger goals of the company. Still, micromanagers get hung up on them.
Low-priority tasks should not get in the way of accomplishing bigger goals. When micromanagers put too much weight on less significant tasks, employees can’t but feel annoyed, discouraged and lose their focus. This prevents them from completing important tasks and meeting deadlines.
✔️ When Managers Ignore Opinions and Suggestions by Employees and Enforce their Own Views and Methods
Another sign of micromanaging is when managers dislike hearing thoughts, opinions and ideas from their employees. They believe that their way of doing things is the best way and immediately reject any propositions made by team members. By putting ideas down to rest, managers risk missing out on potentially helpful ideas and insights from their employees.
Moreover, employees will inevitably feel discouraged and reluctant to speak or provide useful insights in the future. A working environment that lacks engagement and does not foster innovation and creative thinking is an environment that can’t simply produce good results. If you are one of those managers who believe their way is the only way, prepare for an increase in absenteeism and high turnover rates.
✔️ When Managers Have the “If You Want Something Done Right, You Have to Do it Yourself” Mindset
Micromanagers are obsessed with doing this perfectly without even a single mistake. That’s why little by little they start to take more and more work on, leaving employees with little or no work at all. This fear of mistakes is extremely dangerous as it can cause employee burnout and stress.
When bosses refuse to delegate, they end up with less time to focus on their work. There are tasks that are supposed to be done by people with certain skills and responsibilities. After all, that’s why they’ve been hired for. When managers start completing their employees’ work, they create a confusing work environment. People end up questioning their roles, don’t know what they’re supposed to do and end up leaving the company.
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How to Stop Micromanaging?
✔️ Build a Great Team
If you’re worried about micromanaging and want to know how to stop micromanaging, maybe you should consider hiring the right people and building a better team. If you feel like your team is lacking passion and team members are not contributing enough to the end goal, this can quickly turn into a micromanaging disaster.
To avoid turning into an obsessed manager, spend a significant amount of time analyzing professional backgrounds, going over CVs, interviewing people, etc. Ensure you’ve done all you could do to hire skillful, confident and enthusiastic people who will definitely bring a lot to the table. If you see a great potential in someone, think about training programs that can help them build self-assurance and skills.
You, as a manager, should respect your staff and feel confident in their abilities. Otherwise, you will continue to question their work.
✔️ Let go of Perfectionism
If you want to become a better manager and learn how to stop micromanaging your team, you should first learn to let go of perfectionism. You have to trust your team and understand that they may not approach certain tasks the same way you would do so.
Of course, letting go of perfectionism is not as easy as you might think. That’s why, we suggest you focus on the many advantages of freeing yourself up from handling every single thing at the company. You may be surprised to find that when you give your team freedom to do things their own way, even make mistakes, they will be more productive, confident and loyal. You, on the other hand, will learn many new ways to do things and solve problems.
✔️ Learn to Delegate
When small business owners realize they have to delegate, it can be quite challenging. Usually, most small businesses owners are used to doing a little bit of everything and overseeing any little task. Being self-sufficient is not problematic, however one person can’t simply do it all. Especially if you have dreams of expanding your business and becoming a bigger company.
Think about it – how will you be able to grow your business if you’re just by yourself? Delegation isn’t easy. Start by acknowledging the difference between giving orders and delegating. Document your expectations, provide feedback, create a training program, if you must. But ultimately, transfer your knowledge to team members and trust them to do the job.
✔️ Work on Your own Insecurities
Sometimes, micromanagers do what they do because they feel insecure. They think that relinquishing control will only lead to a disaster because no one else can do a better job than them. They also lack confidence and assurance about their own ability to manage a team of people.
If you believe this might be the source of your problem, take a good look at yourself and your business. Consider hiring a coach or coming up with any other way to build up your own level of confidence. If there are people above you in your organization, you can also turn to them for advice. Ask them to take a look at your delegation process and seek feedback.
✔️ Reduce Your Presence
You don’t have to look over an employee’s shoulder every 20 minutes to make sure they are doing things the way you want them to be done. You are, at the end of the day, not a spy but their manager – a role model and someone they should feel comfortable talking to.
Micromanagers have that specific vibe that makes employees feel very uncomfortable and uncertain about their skills and roles in the company. There’s a difference between being involved in an employee’s day by helping them and answering their questions and being intrusive and focused on every mouse click. Your employees will fear you and will feel like they can’t even look through the window for one second because you will question them why they are not looking at the computer.
If you truly want to change and learn how to stop micromanaging, onsider stand-up meetings as a possible solution to your problem. Every morning, you will have a quick meeting with your team, discussing what everyone did yesterday and what will everyone do today. Note these things on your project management tool and move on with your blogger and more important responsibilities as a manager.
✔️ Communication is Key
Communication is the ultimate problem-solving solution. Once you’ve determined goals and priorities, make sure team members fully understand them. Have an open conversation, an effective team meeting, during which you tell them about the things that really matter to you. List the things your team will need to seek your guidance and approval on. Make it clear to what extinct you want to be kept in the loop and how often they are expected to provide updates and reports.
By doing so, make sure you don’t fall back into your micromanaging ways. Be reasonable when it comes to deadlines, status updates, reports, etc. Have a conversation about innovation and whether someone believes the work process can be improved. You might be surprised how such a meeting can quickly turn into a fruitful discussion.
There are no actual benefits of micromanagement. Controlling employees, putting them behind creative bars and always lurking behind their chairs will lead you nowhere. It will only decrease productivity and employee job satisfaction. Team members will sooner or later leave your team and you might find yourself in a highly unfavorable situation.
Fortunately, if you want to change and learn how to stop micromanaging, there are ways. In this article, we’ve listed some useful tips you can work with. Remember, don’t put too much pressure on your employees or yourself. Have an open mind and don’t let details distract you from the big picture.