3 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Micromanager

Backseat driver, birdie on the shoulder, overzealous Uncle Sam…no matter the context, no one likes a micromanager!

The very definition of a manager is one who is responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization.  They operate as the sum of many parts.  Some managers are identified as subject matter experts (SMEs) — well-versed in the systems of a project; while others are more tasked with the managing the people tasked to complete a given project.  Whatever their path, managers should be cognizant to avoid micromanaging, as it not only impairs the business but themselves too.

Business Insider contributor, Ira Kalb, maintains, “It is nearly impossible to do the jobs of subordinates properly in addition to your own.”

Micromanagers undermine the work of their subordinates by assuming that it’s not done to satisfaction unless it’s done by them.  In addition, those managers sacrifice the time and energy that could’ve been spent generating more business on doing someone else’s job.  And while sometimes “two heads are better than one”; other times, there’s just “too many cooks in the kitchen”.  Part of being a good manager is understanding when to involve yourself and when to leave it to the people tasked to do it.

Here are 3 ways to avoid becoming a micromanager:

1 – Build a strong team. Everything starts by hiring the right employees who are a good fit with your business. As part of the interview process, look closely at how each candidate’s experience meets your needs and how well you think they’ll work with other employees. It may take some trial and error, but you’ll gradually get a sense of exactly whom you’re looking for.

2 – Build a mutual agreement of success. Does your team understand what the successful completion of the project looks like? Do they know your expectations? You want to make sure the project and the person are aware of expectations because if they don’t you will tend to check in more often.

3 – Focus on what, not how.  One of the biggest hurdles for a micromanager to overcome is the “how” a project gets done. A project might not be completed exactly the way you would have done it, but as long as the task gets done on time and on budget with little issue, then there is no need to step in and micromanage the process.

Although it may seem crazy, sometimes it’s OK when employees fail to fulfill their responsibilities, too. We all learn from our mistakes, and experience makes us better equipped for future success. Good managers empower their subordinates to hone their craft and produce quality work.  That’s not to say there is no oversight, but micromanaging disenfranchises the very people a company should be developing.  Taking the time in the beginning to hire the right employees so that once your team is assembled, you can feel confident that they’re capable of completing the job…and doing it well.


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