The key to being an effective manager is to know the difference between running a tight ship and needing to be in control. Employees know when they are being micromanaged; but, managers rarely see it that way. In the interest of top performance and employee retention, it’s important to identify the warning signs that you may be breathing unproductive fear (or annoyance) down the necks of your team.
Micromanagement is the leading cause of employee turnover because it creates a hostile environment. Creativity is stifled and efficiency is compromised. You want a motivated team, not an angry crew that wants to throw you overboard. If you think you may be guilty of micromanaging your staff, or if someone has made the suggestion, let’s find out for sure by looking at the classic signs. If you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you just may be a micromanager:
1 – Are you smarter, faster and more skilled than your employees?
2 – Do you delegate the most important work to yourself even when swamped?
3 – Do you dictate how tasks should be performed?
4 – Do you needlessly assert your authority?
5 – Do you check in with your staff frequently while out of the office?
6 – Do you hover so you always know what your employees are doing?
7 – Do you take over a project when it does not meet your standards?
8 – Do you require extensive reporting just to track progress?
9 – Does every significant decision require your approval?
10 – Do you evaluate performance every time you don’t like how something was done?
11 – Do you require employees to cc: you on emails?
12 – Do you get frustrated when you would have done a task differently?
13 – Do you painstakingly provide corrections to the minutia of projects?
14 – Are you often unsatisfied with deliverables?
15 – Has anyone ever called you a micromanager?
16 – Does this list make you roll your eyes because every good manager should do these things?
It is natural to want to control a business that you have worked hard to build. Letting go, however, is sometimes to only way for it to truly flourish. Employees who are granted a certain amount of autonomy grow to trust more in their abilities and achieve more than those who are strictly monitored.
There are times and circumstances that temporarily call for a higher level of employee scrutiny. If someone is new, there have been complaints, or if there is a specific performance issue, keeping a close eye on day-to-day tasks is a good measure. If, however, oppressive oversight is your permanent management style, you are likely to lose quite of few employees along the way.
To build your team rather than tear them down, set clear expectations and let go of so much control. You may be surprised at the result!