“Sometimes it’s challenging to identify our own weaknesses. As for micro-managers, this can be a tough one. The obsessive control of micromanagement interferes with performance, as it’s counterproductive, hinders productive team building, and it eventually chases people off. Micro-managers believe no one can do what they do. They may even justify their behavior by setting subordinates up for failure. Assigning nearly impossible projects without guidance, giving tasks without direction, or delegating without followup isn’t proof, it’s justification. So, don’t kid yourself, if you know others cannot do it without you, chances are, you’re a micro-manager.” — Are You Sure Your Don’t Micro-manage?
So, do you micro-manage? Are you sure? If you say “yes” to any of the following bullet points, you may be micro-managing yourself out of a loyal, passionate, productive team.
Signs Of Micro-Managing
- Believing, “If I want it done right, I’ve got to do it myself”
- Taking over projects before they’re completed because it’s the only way to get it done
- Changing how things are done to fit your way, even when existing systems are adequate
- Not allowing others to make decisions
- Monitoring even the smallest details of projects
- Being told by direct reports you micro-manage
- Distrusting others abilities
- Not delegating
Failures Of Micro-Managing
When people are not allowed to make decisions, or even mistakes, they do not grow. Don’t waste the most valuable resource you have – people. Logic dictates your organization will struggle to improve if it all depends upon you. On the contrary, the de-motivation, resentment, and fear created by micro-managing will weaken your organization. Because, although micro-managing may work occasionally, in the long run, it will hinder growth and reduce performance.
Stop Mis-Managing through Micro-Managment
Take the time to know your team’s weaknesses. Manage their weaknesses and recognize their strengths.
Within limits, allow others to make mistakes. If they have a legitimate thought process behind their decisions, it will be a learning experience. Right or wrong, it will improve the organization.
Instead of taking over, or doing it yourself, teach someone to do it. Better yet, take a deep breath, explain the result you desire, and ask your team how they will accomplish the result. If progress is being made, and critical deadlines are being met, why would you get involved? If the quality of production is up to standards, and policies are being observed, do not interfere!
Put it Back on Your Team
When team members come to you for a decision, ask for their decision. It might be the same as yours, but now they own it. Give your team the authority to make decisions. While attending a trade show, I observed an unhappy customer approach an exhibit and confront a young staff member. The representative did a great job of listening to the customer and regaining their trust. She ended by offering a free product to the customer. After the satisfied customer left, I asked the staff member who had given her the authority to offer free merchandise? She said the president of the company had empowered her to, “do what he would do.”
If you’re the leader, you are not being paid to do the work; you are being paid to get the work done. You probably were one of the best at accomplishing tasks, but now your responsibility is to teach others, not do it yourself. So, how do you stop micro-managing? Study leadership. Review your job description. It probably does not call for you to do the work, but rather to manage the people who do the work. Ask for direction from your leaders. Work on the business, not in it.
I asked a friend this question. Have you ever written anything about micro-managing? So, how do you control yourself from micro-managing?
“I haven’t. I tried to once, but my boss kept reading over my shoulder and pointing out typos.”