Micromanager. Just that word alone might make you have a visceral reaction.
Along the path of our careers, we’ve all probably encountered the dreaded micromanager. You know, the boss who always seems to be looking over your shoulder, inspecting, controlling, or criticizing everything you do.
But have you ever stopped to wonder if you’re one, too?
Leaders micromanage for lots of reasons, not all of which are to intentionally make your work life difficult (I know this might be hard to believe!)
Some of the most common reasons for micromanaging are often well-intentioned but leaders fail to see the negative effects these behaviors bring about.
For example, leaders might micromanage because of:
- Concern about the details of a project (and ultimately feeling responsible)
- Feeling like they’re the only one who can do a particular task (or perform it best/fastest)
- Time or performance pressures from others
- Insecurity about his/her own reputation
- Fear of failure
- Need for control
- They feel they’re right and/or that they know what’s best
Let’s face it. People often get promoted into management positions because they’re good at doing great work. Their performance has been reinforced and rewarded.
Once in a leadership position, they’re suddenly expected (oftentimes without any training or coaching) to know how to lead through others and still get results.
This is not an easy task.
Without realizing it, the behaviors that used to earn praise can now suddenly have a huge short- and long-term negative impact on employees, their perceived effectiveness as a manager, and on the company’s goals.
When employees feel micromanaged, they often become disengaged and stop offering up ideas and suggestions. In short, they stop talking because no one seems to be listening.
You’ll likely see employee performance suffer as a result of micromanagement because employees put in their hours, but offer little else in terms of commitment or discretionary energy.
Micro-management tells an employee that you don’t trust their work or ability to make decisions.
Think about what you want from your leadership—It’s probably not different than what your employees want from you.
Adult workers want:
- To feel respected and trusted
- To be included in the decision-making process
- To be invited to come up with their own solutions to problems
- To leverage the education, training, and expertise you hired them for
- To have autonomy as they work
- To feel supported, but not controlled
So, here’s the million dollar question: Are you a micromanager??
Answer the following questions:
- Do you spend a lot of time showing employees how to do a job correctly by specifically telling them what to do?
- Do all “final” decisions require your approval first?
- Do you own as much as or more of the tasks associated with a project when those tasks could be delegated to others?
- Do you sometimes miss getting to “do the work yourself” or wish you were in your previous job?
- Do you get upset if someone makes a decision without talking to you first?
- Do you prefer providing answers/direction over empowering others to take action?
- Do you spend time overseeing the work of others/requiring frequent status checks and approvals?
If you answered YES to 2 or more of the questions above, you’re micromanaging your employees.
The good news is that you can learn to change your leadership behaviors and empower your team.
Take some time to acknowledge which behaviors might be problematic. Think about when and how these behaviors show up and their effects on your team.
Focus on fostering effective communication with your team. Ask them what support they need from you and listen to their answers!
When making decisions or delegating, engage employees in the process by asking open ended questions and allow them to provide input.
When employees feel at choice about their work, feel trusted, and know their contributions are valued, they are happy, motivated and productive!
If you want to increase your team’s communication and engagement, schedule a Complimentary Discovery Call with me today!
You can also download my free gift, “The Rule-Breaker’s Guide to Managing Your Energy at Work” to learn how to LOVE what you do every day!