So, are you micro-managing your team? Sometimes it’s challenging to identify our own weaknesses. As for micro-managers, this can be a tough one. The obsessive control of micro-management interferes with performance, it’s counterproductive, hinders team building, and 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. Don’t kid yourself, if you know others cannot do it without you, chances are, you’re a micro-manager.

Signs of Micro-Managing

Difficulty delegating

Non-delegation can be a symptom of micro-managing. If you can’t let go, or if you take over delegated projects before they’re complete, you have a problem, and it’s adversely affecting your team.

How to stop – Let go and guide. For example, instead of taking over a project, give direction and offer advice, but let the project leader lead. Allow them to make their own decisions.

Obsessing over details

Do you get caught up in the minutia of a project, rather than seeing the big picture? It may be your responsibility to make certain your team follows company policy, but it shouldn’t be your job to oversee every detail. If you find yourself saying, “Do it this way because it’s how I do it,” rather than sharing the expected results – you may be the problem. Directing activities is fine, but let the team work out the details.

How to stop – When assigning projects, start at the end result and go backwards. This will help you see the desired outcome rather than being stuck on details.

Discouraging decision making

If you have to approve every decision your team makes, you will eventually grind them to a halt. Although you may be required to approve policy, allow your team to make procedural decisions that directly affect them.

How to stop – Encourage your team to make decisions by teaching them your decision making process, and occasionally allowing them to make mistakes. No one will be correct 100% of the time. What should be expected is a thought process behind the decision with lessons to be learned and shared.

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

If you believe no one can do it as good as you, if you can’t let go, if you don’t delegate, if you arbitrarily make decisions, affecting the team without input – you’re micro-managing. Stop right now. I know what you’re thinking: “They can’t do it without me believe me, I wish they could!” Do you? Do you really? If so, begin by admitting you’re the problem, let go, stop doing and start training. If you’re a micro-manager and you’d like more ideas on letting go, contact me – how do you think I know all this stuff?

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 demotivation, 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 all 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, who writes for a living, this question. Have you ever written anything about micro-managing? He answered, “I haven’t. I tried to once, but my boss kept reading over my shoulder and pointing out typos.”

We all should stop reading over shoulders and pointing out typos.

So, how do you control yourself from micro-managing?

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a  management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash