Any good business leader aspires to lead an organization that operates smoothly across every department. Many times, however, that urge comes with the temptation to micromanage your employees.
It often comes from the desire to ensure that everyone’s actions reflect positively on you as an executive and the organization as a whole, which is not wrong. Still, it can ironically be detrimental to the success of your team down the line. This keeps you looking into little details that others should deal with, preventing you from accomplishing your own responsibilities.
Overcoming this issue involves building trust with your team and helping them develop their skills. Here are ways to move past the micromanaging habit.
Know Your Team Well
When a leader micromanages their team, it usually stems from a lack of trust in their abilities. Knowing the people in your team and their skills is important to stop micromanaging.
1. Understand your teams’ roles
Many leaders micromanage because they are afraid their team is not equipped to accomplish certain tasks. Alleviate this fear by taking the time to understand what responsibilities fall upon your various departments. This way, you can manage your expectations of their output and the extent of their expertise.
For example, one common pitfall in businesses is not knowing the distinction between marketing and public relations. Remember that marketing teams work with sales teams to promote goods and services, while PR teams work to generate positive press and maintain a company’s public image.
Although employees in small businesses often have roles that tend to overlap, know that a PR officer will not have the same skill set as a marketing manager. Outsource services when you need to, such as hiring top marketing firms for PE-owned businesses to support your PR department and not burn your employees out.
2. Hire the right people
Aside from knowing the skills that your current employees are bringing to the table, you also need to hire suitable people for your team. When new recruits’ capabilities are at par with your current employees’, you will not hesitate to have department heads delegate tasks to them.
Hiring employees with certain skills and characteristics also makes it easier to assign mentors who will coach and train them in improving themselves. This way, your team does not stagnate.
Be Involved, But Know When to Step Back
Not micromanaging does not entail a completely detached leading style. To be a good leader, you need to balance being an available boss while leaving ample room for employees to perform their tasks.
1. Meet with your team regularly
A lack of communication breeds a loss of confidence in your team. Hold regular meetings with your departments to track progress on projects and campaigns. This allows an active discussion on goals in which you are not simply dictating what you want them to do.
Knowing your team’s weekly goals and what they are doing to accomplish them gives you peace of mind whenever you feel the need to take control of their work.
2. Save your feedback for the results
A leader who micromanages polices every step of the process, leaving employees feeling controlled or even belittled. Keep yourself from creating this unnecessary tension with your team by only giving feedback when the results come in. This means letting your team work through the process and making comments on the product of their efforts.
For instance, if your goal is to increase social media followers by 1,000 before the month ends, let your employees work through that and get back to them with feedback on how they have performed based on these goals. Aside from initial suggestions, trust your team to handle it and later help them see why and how they could not meet the goal.
3. Know your tendencies and respond
Business leaders hold the big responsibility of fostering a healthy work culture for their employees. This requires an honest assessment of your leadership skills and taking concrete steps to improve.
Although it can be uncomfortable, listen to feedback from employees on how management can better support employee well-being and productivity. See how you may have contributed negatively to your work environment and make changes.
Acknowledge the fears that lead you to micromanage, and address each with practical steps to be a better leader. Only you can truly examine what shortcomings you are afraid to face. With honesty and humility, you can let the bad habit go and continue on the right path with your team.