Stop Micromanaging – You’re Killing their Spirit!

Do you find yourself obsessed with overseeing a project? Do you give a talented employee an assignment and then constantly email him or her to ask about their progress? If someone comes to you with an issue do you take it back and do it yourself or help the person resolve the issue? Micromanaging is a death sentence for empowerment and a sure way to disengage your people. A micromanager is someone who directs or controls a person, team or system to an unnecessary level of detail thus interfering with his or her employee’s ability to grow.

People micromanage for a number of reasons. For one, they maybe a control freak who feels there is only one way to do things and they are the only ones capable of doing it. Secondly, they may not trust their people to follow-through so instead of holding people accountable, they do the job themselves. They may have inadequate capabilities and find the need to micromanage out of a sense of low self-worth, and may worry they will be criticized if things are not done perfectly. Whatever the reason, micromanaging is very detrimental to any employee or team as it zaps the energy and eradicates morale. Ironically, often these same micromanagers complain that their people are disengaged and just going through the motions without realizing their behavior is one of the major reasons for this employee behavior.

If you tend to micromanage, and want to change, here are some tips to give your employees some space:

  • Talk to your employees about how your management style affects them. Start by creating a safe space and encouraging them to be honest. Be open to their comments and let them know you are trying to change
  • Apologize for micromanaging and help them to know this is something you struggle with and not a reflection on them.
  • Then change! Learn to delegate and set up times to follow-up with your people. If they run into an issue, help them to work through it and empower them to learn.
  • Ask for feedback and listen carefully to it. If your people see your sincerity it will improve the level of trust between you.
  • Take a hard look at yourself and try to determine what is causing your need to micromanage, then get help with it.

By taking the time to listen to your people and then instituting changes, you will go a long way toward helping to engage and empower your workforce. The irony is that micromanagers often do it to get results and how ironic it is that micromanaging squelches productivity and stopping it can create a more productive workforce which increases your profits as well.

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