By Serenity Gibbons
Nick Dolding/Getty Images
No one sets out to be a bad supervisor, but the role has a way of turning some of the most talented leaders into micromanagers. In some cases, managers don’t even realize they’re gravitating toward bad habits until they start losing people, productivity, and power.
Are you worried that you might be a micromanager? And if so, how can you resist your micromanaging tendencies and — more importantly — how do you ditch your micromanaging reputation for good? Take these steps to show your team that you’ve truly kicked your micromanaging habit.
Stop checking in all the time
You may think you’re being helpful by frequently checking in on a specific project, but your employees likely aren’t thinking the same. Admit it: You’re hovering. Rather than always going to your employees to check in, have them come to you instead. A good way to set this expectation is to schedule regular meetings to discuss the progress of current projects. At a meeting with your sales team, for instance, you could discuss how far various opportunities have moved in the pipeline and brainstorm ways to move each one forward before next week’s meeting. That way, employees know when you expect an update and can plan their days accordingly. Taking this approach also allows you to focus on outcomes rather than the minute details of every task, account, or project.
Trust your team’s experts
Do you find yourself constantly telling your designer which colors she should use on specific projects, even though you have no prior design experience? Have you told a copywriter that you’re overriding his grammar edit because you think a different way sounds better? If you answered yes to either (or both) of those questions, you’re not giving your team members the autonomy to use their expertise. You may be tempted to rationalize your micromanagement because you think that, as a manager, you need to have all the answers. You don’t. As the boss, it’s your job to recognize the best ideas, not necessarily to have them yourself.
Remind yourself why you hired that designer and copywriter in the first place. Here’s a big hint: It was for their expertise. Because your team’s experts have deeper insights into the tasks at hand, they are more likely to recognize and take advantage of potential opportunities. Use your general knowledge of the required tasks to put the right people in the right places. After that, the key to managing your experts is to communicate what you need, provide them with the support and resources to accomplish their tasks, and then trust them to carry out the task.
Delegate more than you may be comfortable with
As an executive, you have real revenue goals to hit and sales targets to meet. So when a critical task arises, you may tend to fall back on the old adage: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Rather than give a newbie a shot at a vital task, you convince yourself it’s better for her to learn by watching rather than by doing. But that approach doesn’t bode well for your team’s future — or for shedding your reputation as a micromanager.
Instead, allow your employees to get into the harder stuff out of the gate. For example, Greg McBeth, head of revenue at Node.io, allows his salespeople to jump into deal-making early and often. “You shouldn’t worry about letting them spread their wings on a sales call,” he says. “Afterward, review the live meeting or recorded session and go over what they did correctly and what they should work on for the next time.” By giving feedback afterward rather than intervening during the call, you’ll be a supportive coach instead of a micromanaging boss.
Though McBeth admits he can’t coach his team members for every contingency, he feels that real-world experience is a critical part of learning. Gallup research has shown that delegating more to your team will yield results: Business leaders who have a talent for delegation — and put it to use — can spawn greater growth and business success than those who immerse themselves in the mundane details of managing their companies.
The next time you find yourself knee-deep in the minutiae of an employee’s tasks, take a deep breath and slowly extricate yourself from the situation. It’s almost always possible to find an alternative to micromanagement behavior. Trusting that others will let you know when they need help — and that they know what they’re doing — will help you all in the long run. Empower your team to take on more, and you’ll find yourself worrying — and controlling — a lot less.
Read the full article here.
This content was originally published by Harvard Business Review. Original publishers retain all rights. It appears here for a limited time before automated archiving. By Harvard Business Review