Micromanagement could have a huge long- and short-term negative impact on your ability to be effective as a manager.
Micromanagement. It may seem like a little thing that's isolated to a few managers, or staff in your company, but the effects of micromanagement could have a huge long- and short-term negative impact on your ability to be effective as a manager, and your ability to achieve or exceed your company's goals. Take a second to think about these questions:
Do you tell your employees what to do? Do you oversee all aspects of their projects? Do you direct rather than empower? Do spend more time on day-to-day tasks vs the growth of your company?
If you answered yes, to one or more of these questions, you may just be a micromanager, so I'll ask another question... at what cost?
What You Want
You want things done a certain way. The "right" way, and maybe even your way. I get it. But, when you tell employees exactly what you want, how you want it and when you want it, you're basically just telling them to execute. And, unless they don't enjoy thinking very much, they won't be satisfied for long.
The bigger question to ask yourself, or that micromanager you've got is, "can you articulate what you want the outcome to be, but let your employee chart how they get there?" Letting them become part of the journey can pay off big-time because, not only will they feel more valued, but you may actually get a better end product because you'll have more people generating ideas and solutions. Even though you're the boss, you may not always have all the best answers.
What Your Employees Want
So we know you want things done and you want them done a certain way. As I discussed, allowing employees to be a part of the journey can have a far-reaching positive impact because we know employees don't just come to work for a paycheck. They come for so much more including a sense of belonging and having a purpose, being productive, learning and contributing to a common or shared goal, having engagement and maybe even some recognition.
When you do all the thinking for them, you cut their legs out from under them, possibly robbing them of their creativity, ability to problem solve, their trust and ability to be flexible.
Just Say No to Micromanaging
The good news is, you can start to shift the habit of micromanaging by identifying why you or a manager does it, and make a few easy changes.
1. Identify Why
Do you have a new team that you don't know well, haven't established trust and confidence in? Do you have folks who don't carry through, or miss deadlines? Identifying the why will help you address the root cause and take action to help curb feelings of distrust, lack of confidence or other things you have identified.
2. Accountability With a Capital A
If you want your team be accountable, then make sure you work this into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive ) goals for them that are realistic. If people aren't held accountable, they may never know they aren't meeting your expectations. At my online marketing company VerticalResponse, we work off of periodical reviews to make sure that what we want for our business is what our teams know they need to do. It's pretty cut and dry.
3. Let Go
Knowing when to step back and give your team the space they need to explore a problem, brainstorm, come up with solutions and execute on them is at the very core of every good manager. If you overstep your boundaries, give your team the right to give you feedback so you know how much rope to give them and respect when they tell you to scram. When I'm in a meeting and a decision needs to be made, many times the team will look at me and ask what I think? A lot of times I turn it around on them and say "What do you guys think?" This way they know they have a say.
Have you had to step back and let go? How did your experience play out? I'd love to hear some real-life examples.
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick