The Dangers of Being a Micromanager
You may wonder exactly why being a micromanager is bad for your business. On the surface, it seems wise to make sure that your staff is doing a good job, to pitch in and help with a project now and then. It seems to demonstrate a solid work ethic and set a good example for the team. What could be wrong with that?
Well, if you're a manager, there's a lot wrong with that.
Basically, micromanaging is involving yourself too directly in what your staff should be doing instead. By definition, a manager is tasked with -- yes, you guessed it -- managing. That involves coordinating projects, solving problems, dealing with other managers, and developing relationships with clients. The manager has to ensure that a certain quantity of work gets done, and normally that work is much more than one person could ever do alone. Therefore, the manager supervises a team of people to help them carry out that work.
However, if a manager's time is consumed with micromanaging, there's no time for all the other managerial tasks on his or her plate. Quite simply, it is damaging to your business to micromanage. Here are some tips to keep in mind when tempted to manage to the nth degree:
- There's more than one right way. As a supervisor, you need to prepare your employees to complete projects successfully, and to be clear from the beginning about the results you expect from them. Then you should stand back and let them carry out their designated tasks in the way they see fit, coming up with their own solutions. Remember that employees need to do things in a positive way, but not necessarily in the same way you would do them. This does not mean that communication is closed down -- you still need to touch base from time to time, to see how projects are progressing, and to check if the person has any questions. But he or she needs freedom to work within an open framework, to learn and grow. The end result is a strengthening of your firm. There's no way your staff can develop and the firm can flourish if you are always there to meddle in the project and demonstrate the "correct" way to accomplish a task.
- It's about trust. Your employees have to believe that you trust them to do a good job. But how can they do that if you're always hovering over their shoulders, diving in to rescue them from themselves? If it's inevitable that your staff's decisions will be second-guessed, they will begin to feel frustrated and powerless. In addition, your employees will learn that they will not be held accountable, and will soon stop trying to make any decisions at all.
- If something's wrong, fix it. If you have an employee who is indeed constantly doing things incorrectly, it may be time to clean house and hire someone who can do the job properly. But first, see to it that your employees are fully trained and know everything they need to know to do their jobs well. Be certain you're communicating the duties of the job clearly. Finally, keep in mind that some employees want to be micromanaged. Just as you need to stay out of their way, your staff needs to remember the importance of making decisions on their own.
- Beware of burnout. If you insist on meddling in a project, creating frustration and lack of accountability in your employees, and still attempt to shoulder all your other managerial responsibilities, you're going to get tired. Really tired. And eventually, tiredness will progress to exhaustion and complete burnout. At which point, you won't care about micromanaging anymore. But at that point, of course, it will be too late. Don't let events progress to that point.
The bottom line: a good manager is one who prepares, and then trusts employees, remembers that he or she is part of a team, and leads by example, not by doing everyone else's work. Your staff will appreciate your efforts, and will feel a greater sense of personal accomplishment. And in the end, your business will thrive.
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