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Lessons in Leadership: Micromanaging is Like Dividing By Zero

26 Aug

When it comes to the things that we are passionate about, it can oftentimes be difficult to give up control. Whether we are entrepreneurs trying to make sure our ideas are being executed the way we see fit, or we are managers who want to make sure our team is doing work that will reflect well on us, micromanaging is not the solution.

There are different ways to supervise without micromanaging every detail and it starts with being organized. To begin, it’s important to set up a structure that allows for an employee to be flexible and develop his or her own thoughts without being slowed down. For a few milestones throughout a project, it can be beneficial to check in to see how things are going and if need be, to make minor adjustments so that the project can continue to move forward.

Along with being organized is using the right tools to stay on top of projects. Online project management tools are a great way to measure progress without having to be directly involved in all of the small details. It is easier to set clear deadlines and expectations without actually having to get an update every single minute. Entrusting your employees to their tasks is a great way for everybody to see the importance of their role in a project.

Not only is knowing how to handle micromanaging important, it’s important to know why it doesn’t work. One of the biggest reasons is that micromanaging makes you less productive and is ultimately a time waster. What’s the point of having an employee if somebody spends just as much time and energy supervising and criticizing, picking apart their performance? That time could have been spent working on other tasks that need to be completed so that twice as much work can be done in the same amount of time.

Keeping an open stream of communication, rather than dictating every step along the way, is a healthy approach to weaning yourself off of micromanaging. Try these tactics:

  • Read over your employees’ job descriptions. How many of these are tasks shared by a team, and how many are tasks you try to “help” with? If there are any overlaps, this is where you desperately need to relinquish tight control for the sake of your own effectiveness.
  • Encourage employees to give feedback about their own work processes. If anyone is capable of coming up with actionable ideas, it’s your very own team.
  • Give your employees “enough rope to hang themselves with.” This is where you can start to build trust and train yourself how to better identify talent.

At the end of the day, it is difficult to give up bad habits, especially when you’re not always aware that you’re doing it. It’s an important step, however, if you want to foster a positive and productive work environment.

Guest author Malia Anderson is a finance writer and experienced blogger from Greensboro, NC.

 

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