One pitfall managers often struggle with is micromanaging their team. While it may seem to you that you just have high expectations and want to be in the loop, micromanaging employees can lead to your employees feeling that you do not trust them or have faith in their ability to accomplish tasks you’ve assigned them. It can stifle productivity and innovation. So how can a manager combat an inclination to micromanage? Here are a few steps you can take to help you get out of your team’s way and be the leader they need.
Choose the right team members.
Surround yourself with individual team members that you know are capable of doing the work that must be done. This starts with hiring the right people but also means selecting the right individuals for the given task. If you have talented individuals on your team, help them use their specific talents to their fullest potential by assigning projects that fit their abilities and skill sets. Being thoughtful when it comes to work assignments can let your employees know that you recognize their talents and consider them an asset.
It’s also vital to only assign an individual a task you know they can successfully complete. Let your team know that you want them to succeed, and you have faith in their abilities. Setting a team member up for failure isn’t going to help the team member grow or “learn a lesson” it’s only going to bring down morale and leave you with an unsatisfactory performance from the employee. No one wins in that situation.
Set clear expectations and ensure understanding.
Rather than managing tasks, manage expectations. If you set clear expectations and ensure that all team members are clear about those expectations, you won’t have to worry about every minute detail. Part of setting expectations is being upfront about the project timeline and deadlines. Set project benchmarks when you give the assignment and limit yourself to checking in only at those predetermined times. Provide resources and examples of a completed project when you can do so. Let team members know what successful completion will look like.
Physically distance yourself.
Once you’ve assigned a project and set clear expectations, it can help to physically leave the work area. This will keep you from interfering and will let your team members know you trust them to complete the task at hand.
Seek feedback & take time to reflect.
Ask your team members how they prefer to be managed and listen when they provide feedback. It’s okay to acknowledge your tendency to micromanage and let them know it is something you’re working on.
Take time each week to reflect on your interactions with your team members. Were there times when you could have stepped away and didn’t? Use your reflections to improve your performance the following week.
Avoiding micromanaging can lead to happier, healthier workplace culture. If you find yourself over-involved in the day-to-day tasks that you could be delegating to your team, it’s worth taking the time to implement some of these strategies to get out of the habit. Your team will thank you, and you’ll see higher productivity and innovation among your employees.