Ways to Avoid Micromanaging

Have you ever wondered why you have to do the work for everyone else on your team? If you are the only person who knows how to do the job, you are a micromanager. Many employees have horror stories of their management team micromanaging and hovering over their every decision. Micromanaging is one of the top reasons that employees leave their jobs. 

While you may believe that you are helping your company by being involved in your subordinates’ work details, you are doing the opposite. Management must trust the competence of its workers. Micromanaging insults the skill and abilities of workers, but it also displays doubt in an employer’s own ability to choose qualified employees. Micromanaging may be done unknowingly by an employer. To avoid micromanaging, management should practice the following:

Pick the Right People

Having qualifications doesn’t just include having work experience and certifications. Being qualified also includes have the interpersonal skills and ability to be a productive contributor. Management can avoid micromanaging by looking at the character of each person and pick the right people. For example, one person may be competent in completing a job successfully. However, they may also have a habit of procrastinating on tasks. When hiring, employees should have specific characteristics like time-management, humility, and communication skills. 

Delegate Accordingly

Remain focused on your worker’s output instead of their input. Make the expectations clear at the outset of a project, so each person understands the objective. Your team needs to know the destination for the work. It is up to them to get there. Provide resources, examples, and tools for the employee to find success in the role. Communicate a timeline for the task based on your employee’s suggestion. 

Your employees will likely have more expertise or experience at a particular task. Match your employees with the appropriate job and workload. Delegating assignments accordingly also cuts down on confusion and employee burnout. 

Provide Training

Instead of expecting or waiting for an employee to slip up, management should provide adequate training. Everyone can benefit from self-improvement, whether it be leadership development or training in their specific field. By providing resources to improve, managers can rest assured knowing their employees are qualified. Create mentorship within your team so that workers are continually looking to improve themselves. 

Trust Your Employees

An employee may have enough training, experience, expertise, and education to complete their assigned work. However, a manager can still find themselves micromanaging. In such cases, this issue should be resolved with the manager. Managers need to give their employees space to do their jobs with the understanding that mistakes can happen. And that is okay. If you are always focused on how employees are completing their tasks, need to be copied on every email, and you are always down “in the weeds,” then you are a micromanager sucking your team’s morale. 

Communicate Expectations Clearly

A lot of workplace mishaps happen as a result of poor communication. Employees may be confused or performing poorly as a result of ineffective communication. Managers should make sure that expectations are expressed concisely and clearly. Employees should also feel comfortable enough to ask questions for further clarification.

Micromanaging Hurts Your Business 

New leaders are tempted into micromanagement because it avoids surprises. But micromanaging undermines company productivity. Autonomy provides workers with a lot of motivation. When you are continually hovering to ensure that your employees follow proper procedures, your employees will leave and let you do the work yourself. Micromanaging stifles morale, creativity, and employee growth. It creates turnover, delays, and distrust. 

Micromanaging will ultimately topple a business. The opportunity costs involved in a manager doing the work of a subordinate make that subordinate’s job redundant. Using your valuable time to do your subordinate’s job means you are not investing your time to grow and prosper your organization. Managing people is hard. But micromanaging people ensures the failure of everyone. 

17 Comments

  1. Denny Poe

    Micromanagement can be tempting, especially for new leaders. The less control employees have, the lower the chances for unwanted surprises. But in reality, micromanaging is bad for employees and bad for company productivity. Remember that before getting overly involved with how employees work.

  2. Sam Sett

    If you have a boss whose only feedback is negative or doesn’t communicate many past yearly reviews, ask for regular time on their schedule. Whether that’s a daily, weekly, or monthly check-in, the idea is that you’re getting regular feedback about how you’re doing.

    Once that’s established, you should aim to agree on goals. They shouldn’t be about your career objectives but what the company wants to see from you. If you go to your boss and say, “I want this to be the best year possible, but I’m going to need your feedback to get there,” what boss will say no?

  3. Jason Wellington

    I can’t just say, “Stop coming in with all these questions,” because that’s exactly what my employee needs. I may not be micromanaging him, but he’s micromanaging himself! It may be annoying sometimes, but in the end, it’s what he needs to do the best job he can.

  4. Courtney DeMoss

    When incomplete or unclear instructions are given to team members they are more likely to fail. Therefore, if you want to stop being a micromanager, help yourself by helping them.

  5. Tim Davenport

    The Micromanager first has to recognize the problem. Here are some classic signs of micromanagement that may help:
    Constantly scrutinizing the work of others
    Not delegating tasks others could do
    Assigning projects and then taking them away to complete on your own
    Missing deadlines
    Discouraging or ignoring the suggestions of staff

  6. Rashad Correa

    An executive can do the best thing instead of micromanaging to define success, provide resources, remove obstacles, and get out of the way. Effective managers trust their employees to deliver. If you want to get the best out of your team, they must be free to think, experiment, and create.

  7. Randy Keefe

    It comes down to trust more often than not, and this lack of faith drives micromanagers to try to control everything unreasonably. They seek to expand their circle of control to alleviate insecurities and gain the confidence that they don’t already have in themselves, their staff, or both. The result is that workers feel that you don’t trust them, so they end up not trusting you either. They also become resentful, and this resentment leads to decreased performance and engagement. Then the cycle continues!

  8. Ronald

    I had a manager that refused to show that she had confidence that people will perform without being watched continuously or reminded to do so. That demoralized our team and created an atmosphere where employees react with lower performance and sneak around on non-work pursuits while only taking action when the manager shows up.

  9. Vince Hughey

    Part of being a good manager, one often lost on those of the micro variety, is listening. Managers fail to listen when they forget their employees have important insights – and people who don’t feel listened to become disengaged.

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