First of all, let’s get a clear understanding of what micromanaging is and what it might do to your people. Also- be aware that it’s mostly a bad thing and worse, I meet a lot of business owners who don’t even know they’re doing it. Stop micromanaging and you won’t regret it.

Micromanaging is a bad habit. It comes from fear and shows up in a desire to control every small detail of the production process. It’s not a bad thing to want your business to do well. Neither is having confidence in yourself that you can make your enterprise succeed. However, this can combine in some strange ways when it comes to the day-to-day.

Micromanaging can start when you add the first person to your team. The practice of instructing them repeatedly on things they should know how to do indicates that you don’t trust them to do their job properly. It’s like being the kind of dad or mom who keeps reminding the kids to clean their rooms, and not only that, they tell them where to put everything and “helps” them  remember how to run the vacuum in case they forgot!

In addition to undermining team morale, micromanagers interfere with getting actual work done. Conversely, a manager who has the self-control to be able to avoid micromanaging is also communicating that she or he trusts the team’s ability to do good work independently.

What happens to micromanagers?

1) Their company stops growing. Why?

Employees will almost universally agree that micromanaging harms their ability to produce quality work. However, it also harms the organization’s ability to meet its own objectives. For example, the employees might be ready to complete the project, but micromanaging is causing unnecessary delays and that costs customers.

Another result? Your best people leave and find work in a place where they are developed and trusted. And you have to start micromanaging new people and you never have the base from which to grow.

Lack of creativity costs opportunities that go to competitors. In the long run, the messiness of letting your staff learn and grow will pay off later!

2) They give up because it’s just too hard to keep everyone “doing it right”  (shorthand for doing it the way I think it should be done).

Being realistic about outcomes is better than expecting perfection 100 percent of the time. Unrealistic expectations often backfire, and they tend to produce the poor results micromanagers are afraid of and try to solve by meddling in every detail.

How to ditch the micromanaging habit

Like any other bad habit, micromanaging can be a difficult habit to break. The real trick is to replace the bad habit with a more powerful and effective one. You know deep down in there somewhere that you MUST trust your people to own the company mission like you do. How will you align them more fully so they manage themselves?

Here’s the idea: train your new employees well, hold them accountable to do a good job, then GET OUT OF THE WAY. Go golfing. Stay home. Focus on business development. Anything to keep you away from the temptation to meddle.

There’s a lot more to flesh out in the area of training and developing employees- perhaps another blog article in the near future! But for now, think about how you can trust your people more.

Ammie’s Assignment: Write down the things you are most afraid will happen if you don’t micromanage. Then ask- what training and accountability system can I put in place to manage them for me?

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