Are you Micromanaging your team – identify & avoid

Micromanaging is a habit which we may be owning even without our knowledge. Especially if you are on higher levels in professional career, chances of realizing this habit is lesser because your directs or employees might not be comfortable sharing this fact with you. This most important thing is to realize that you have this habit of micromanaging. In most of the occasions there would be so called “genuine” reasons for micromanaging things. Micromanaging is a tough habit to break. You may downplay your propensities by labeling yourself a “control freak” or by claiming that you just like to keep close tabs on your team, but those are poor excuses for excessive meddling.

One of the main reason for micromanaging is, you think your subordinate is not able to deliver the task as you does, if so just think about it for a minute. If your mind is filled with the micro-level details of a number of jobs, there’s no room for big picture thoughts.

  • Is your time worth meddling with your subordinate’s work ?
  • Are you having excess free time ?
  • Don’t you have anything else worth spending time ?
  • Do you really trust your employees ?
  • Is the process good enough , instead of micromanaging tasks, should you need to invest time in improving the process?
  • Can you spend more time in big picture thoughts than micromanaging?

A good leader trains and delegates, it is important to have a process in place where he step back and monitor the progress at right intervals. Only time  you should micromanage is when you hire a new team/team member or initial training. During the initial phase your process should be set and this process should include status checks and feedback at right time. We should understand that Micromanaging displaces the real work of leaders.If you realized yourself as a micro manager, start your efforts to step back slowly. Do a test run on a project that is a bit less urgent and give your team full accountability and see how it goes, it will help you to get rid of this habit.

How to avoid micromanaging

Commit to hiring the right people
First thing first, if you don’t have right people you may end up in micromanaging, but we should understand that as our problem (not hiring right). Commit our-self in hiring right people, or training your staff in right direction

Make people accountable
Making people accountable will have lots of positive effects. They will be doing the jobs with more responsibility and accuracy. Develop owners mind set within your organization.

Clearly and frequently articulate expectations
Before work is assigned , it is important to set the expectations. It is also important to frequently articulate the expectations so that employees are well aware of what you are looking for.

Give them an ownership stake
This is an interesting topic, in many occasions we have made our employees responsible for the work they does, but it is important to give the ownership stake, that includes owner’s share for their mistakes as well as their success. In many situations, we are keen in giving the owners share for their mistakes  alone. Having a pat on the back, taking them out for lunch, genuine gratitude emails, surprise bonus, spot awards , stock options (ESOPs) are some examples for owners share for success.

Know your value
Another mistake is over delegation without support, as a leader it is important to help subordinates to get the things done. It is not micromanaging which help them in getting things done. Add your value to the equation.

Provide feedback
Providing feedback help your employees to raise to your expectation levels. Keep providing feedback and proper support. Be careful to distinguish between supporting the team and micromanaging them.

Signs of micro management

Look out for these signs to identify whether you are a micro manager.

  • Immerse themselves in overseeing the projects of others.
  • Start by correcting tiny details instead of looking at the big picture.
  • Take back delegated work before it is finished if they find a mistake in it.
  • Discourage others from making decisions without consulting them.

How to avoid getting micromanaged.

Now lets talk a bit about how to get rid of being micromanaged. If you are an unlucky guy/gal who work under a micromanaging manager, these few tips would help.

Proactive status updates
Understand your managers expectation, and proactively provide status updates, don’t give him a chance to ask for updates, you may need to give the updates more frequently than you do regularly.

Volunteer to take on work or projects
Try to volunteer to take up more work and projects, that way you may gain confidence and it might help you from being micromanaged. This is some thing difficult at times, but its worth a try.

Remind your manager about your responsibilities
When ever you get a chance tell him about the responsibilities he had assigned to you, this gives him a confidence that you are on it. Example if you are assigned with a weekly report, on Friday telling him that Monday morning he will get this weekly reports.

Concentrate on helping your boss to change his habit
This is going to be risky, but if your boss really want to get out of this habit, help him with it. if boss realize he does micromanagement, it is a good sign, with your support he should be able to get out of it. Unfortunately 95% of the managers don’t agree that they does micro management neither they realize it.


Now it is time for you to do a test – check this out

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