If You're Micro-managing, Stop It

Many organizational leaders micro-manage their team. Without knowing it, they waste everyone's time and energy. Worst of all they drain the lifeblood of the organization by sapping it's greatest strength: the energy of their coworkers. 

Whether they know it or not, micro-managers inhibit their team from working. When they give a member an assignment, then tell them how they want the assignment done, ask them about it everyday, look over their shoulders and smother them with questions, they rob their coworkers of their expertise. 

By dictating every step of the process, the micro-manager stops people from doing their work effectively. The micro-manager also adds the impossible burden of making the coworker figure out how their supervisor wants the job done, rather than how to do it - two totally different propositions. 

Micro-management also robs members of job satisfaction. How can they enjoy their work if they are forced to spend their time second guessing their supervisor and aren't allowed to contribute any of their own ability? They can't. Most coworkers resent this deeply. Most of us want to do our very best in our for our organization. For most people, doing your best is part of the enjoyment of the work. 

By stifling new ideas, this type of manager also creates an organization that rapidly becomes stale. Instead of the organization growing and changing, as it naturally would if everyone were bringing their own perspective, the organization goes around and around in the same circle and stagnates. The organization which stagnates, is usually going in the wrong  direction.

Why reward an coworker with some wonderful benefit and then stand in the way of them doing the job? It's like tying one had behind their back and then wondering why they aren’t as happy as they could be. It doesn't make sense, yet many leaders do this every day. 

Unfortunately, most people in leadership do this without realizing that they are doing it. The question then becomes:  "How do you know if you are micro-managing?" You can start by asking yourself these questions: 

Am I the one doing all the work? 

Does anyone else actually care? 

Why is there never enough time in the day? 

If You’re Micro-managing, Stop it! 

Whether you micro-manage or not you can learn from your employee's behavior. Ask yourself if:

  • Your co-workers are enthusiastic about their work?
  • They come to meetings late and unprepared? 
  • Your employees enthusiastically share their ideas? 
  • After answering these questions you may want to rethink your leadership style?

“When you talk you can only say what you already know. When you listen, you may learn what someone else knows.”  Author Unknown                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What can be done to solve this common leadership problem? It usually takes some soul searching. First, ask yourself if you're micro-managing one or even all of your employees?

If you're micromanaging everyone, you need to ask yourself why you're afraid of letting those individuals handle what you hired them for. What is keeping you from trusting them and their abilities? Do you have the right people in the right seat on the bus?

If you're micromanaging just one person, you need to ask yourself if you have enough confidence in that individual. If you don't, it could mean you made a mistake in moving them into that position. That is a much less complex, though sometimes no less difficult issue to deal with.

Here are some ideas that you can utilize to help you break this habit:

Tell yourself that there is no right or wrong way of doing things. The sooner you can see that there are multiple paths that lead to the end game, the sooner that you will be able to see the benefits that others bring to the table. Until you can see the benefits, have faith in the process. 

Learn how to leverage the resources of your coworkers expertise.  You will get more out of their time and their commitment to the organization if you let them be creative and come up with different solutions. This will help you honor your people and their abilities, as well as expand your leadership. 

Remember that a satisfied person is usually a productive person. Employee satisfaction raises morale and lowers turnover. The easiest way to get others committed to following your lead is to encourage their creativity and ownership. 

You will not only lift your employees enthusiasm at your organization, you may even attract others who are like-minded. Everyone brings a different perspective to the table. By tapping into that new approach, you can add innumerable resources without spending a penny more. 

For whatever reason some micro-managers have problems trusting and respecting other people. Although there is no easy solution to such complex problems, changing the way you see people will help control these negative habits.