Breaking the Habit: Are You a Micromanaging Boss?

In today’s competitive business environment, results matter. Unfortunately, the pressure to get results leads many managers to focus too much on the day to day, which in turn damages their ability to do their own work.

Micromanaging hurts productivity. It reduces employee engagement. And it’s no better for you than it is for your team. Fortunately, there are ways to break the habit. Here’s how:

Ask yourself why.

Why do you hesitate to delegate? Why is it important to keep a hand on your team’s work? Perhaps you’re concerned employees will “slack off” or miss vital details, or you’re trying to keep employees on their toes by showing them you’re always paying attention.

Understanding your motivations will help you identify potential issues that could be addressed to allow you to stop micromanaging. It will also help you find ways to step back effectively.

Set priorities.

Imagine yourself in your own supervisor’s shoes for a moment. What tasks absolutely must be handled by the manager in your current position? What tasks can be put on someone else’s to-do list?

Sort work accordingly. For instance, strategic planning and process building will require your direct involvement, since your role as manager is to consider the bigger picture. Making phone calls, tracking down the mail or completing reports, however, can be done by someone else on the team.

Build trust through communication.

If you’ve been micromanaging, it’s likely that trust is lacking on both sides. You may feel as if you cannot trust your team to do certain tasks; your team may feel as if they cannot trust you to allow them to take risks or try new skills.

Address the trust issue from both sides by improving communication. Work on making sure your team understands the overall goal, as well as the purpose of their daily work. When you assign specific projects, include concrete, measurable metrics and objectives.

Then, let your team work. Instruct them to check in with you when they have finished a task, and evaluate the task according to the metrics you provided at the start. Give feedback based on how well they met or failed to meet those metrics.

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