Are you sure you’re not micro-managing? Sometimes it’s challenging to identify our weaknesses. This can be tough for micro-managers. It was for me. The obsessive control of micro-management interferes with performance.  It’s counterproductive, hinders productive 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 follow-up 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 desired end result and go backward. 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 actions, 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 successful 100% of the time. What should be expected is a thought process behind the decision with lessons to be learned and shared.

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. I’ve been there. How do you think I know all this stuff?

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. 

Does your business have a management training plan? Businesses and universities use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. I’m also available to conduct training.