The Micromanagement Myth

There is a dangerous myth going around which states the reason for micromanaging is so one is sure ‘nothing’ goes wrong and deliverables are delivered on time and budget. My opinion is this myth is actually being propagated by…micromanagers.

The above could not be further from the truth. There is a HUGE cost to micromanagement and micromanagers don’t even see it because it can’t be measured.

By micromanaging your team, individuals or other departments, you are essentially telling them you do not trust them to get the job and deliverables done.

If one micromanages, all you are building is resentment for you. How can one stop this destructive behavior? You can start by:

  1. Simply walking away and letting them do it. These are people you may have hired, or the organization hired, because they feel they are able and capable of doing the job and delivering on the project. Therefore, walk away and let them get to it. After all, you brought them in for a reason.
  2. Before walking away, set the direction and expectations. Tell them where they need to be and the time they need to be there by. Make it clear. People dislike weak and unclear instructions. If there are no questions about the target, then there should be no challenges to the accountability.
  3. Recognize them. These people have pride and an ego. Feed both of those in public. Never demean publicly. Those are hard conversations which require a private space. They will be looking for more and the only way to get it will be by achieving more. Yes, it is a vicious circle. However, one which everyone wins. However, do not overfeed.
  4. Check in. Because you walk away does not mean you never check in to see what is happening. Ask how things are going. Ask if they have any questions. Ask if timelines will be met. Answer questions when asked. You noticed ‘tell’ was never mentioned? It’s their project, let them handle it. Add advise when asked. Make suggestions if applicable, but never ever tell because then all you will be doing is micromanaging.
  5. Support them. This is not, and should never be, about showing them up to make yourself look better. You are their leader and should be beyond behavior which may hurt your people instead of helping. If they need something which you can provide, then, provide it. This would include; resources, time or personnel.

Once trust is lost it is impossible to ever regain the amount lost. They will give some back, but never to the extent you had originally gotten. Is that a risk you are willing to take? If you are micromanaging, I can assure you, it has already happened.

It has been proven over and over again, people do not leave organizations because of compensation, but rather how managers made them feel.  

Want to keep your people? Trust them.

Successful Mindset & Attitude

1 comment

  1. Complete agreement. Micromanaging is a lack of trust and not conductive to increasing the attributes that brought the employee into the team.

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