How to Avoid Unproductive Micromanagement
Whether you work with one full-time person, one external part-time person, or one virtual person, the one thing that could be holding you back is not letting them do their job.
In short, if you find yourself micromanaging a team member, what’s the point in doing half of their job for them? You might as well do their job yourself.
From my perspective, whether I’m working with one part-time member of staff or twelve members of staff, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned it’s that you have to let someone get on with their job.
For me, this is caveated by booking weekly catch-ups, having schedules in place to set goals, and requesting constant updates on timeframes. Basically, all of the managerial tasks that you’d think would benefit productivity and smooth out workflows.
But at one point does micromanagement become unproductive?
Read on to learn how to stop micromanaging your team and why it could actually be damaging the productivity and success of your business.
What is Micromanaging?
Micromanaging is when you’re always on somebody’s shoulder, micromanaging their work, ‘chipping in‘, and not letting them make their own decisions. If you’re not letting a team member do their work or follow their own initiative, it can deflate and zap their morale while also limiting their professional growth.
It is easy to forget that these are the people who can help you expand your business, drive your workforce and possibly bring a different mindset or way of working to the table. They are your workforce and they will at times surprise you, if you allow them to.
They could be a virtual assistant, they could be a manager, they could be a supplier, but it shouldn’t really matter. Every member of your team and inner-circle have personal and professional feelings. And, when you’re in ‘managerial mode‘, it can be very easy to supplement these feelings with your own.
If you are constantly poking in to ask if this or that is done, redirecting their attention, or interrupting their flow, you’re going to create an environment of dependency on you as their leader. On top of that, all of your micromanaging can really stifle their creativity by forcing limitations on them.
You won’t get the best out of your team and you run the risk of burning them and yourself out! Work is a process and sometimes your staff need to process their work in their own way.
Consider if you are working with them, or against them.
It could be that you have a part-time bookkeeper working off-site or someone working as a virtual assistant for ten hours a week to lighten the load. You may have a full-time personal assistant who works in close proximity to you (which can be daunting in itself), it doesn’t really matter, they’re a colleague, not ‘the help‘.
If things go wrong, is it always your fault?
We all know things don’t always go to plan in business, which can be a warning sign that you need to make some changes. Systems and process are in place to iron out any creases or kinks in the workflow while clear objectives can help team members focus on what needs to get done and when.
But, if you’re looming behind your team members and checking up on them constantly, it can brew a toxic climate in the workplace.
But never forget the fact that your staff, whether you think of them as colleagues, co-workers or employees’, are there for a common purpose. It’s easy to disengage from that common purpose in order to continually re-purpose their own mindsets if you feel that things are going wrong.
That way of thinking isn’t going to serve you or better your management style in any way, shape or form.
It’s not always your fault if things go wrong, that’s business and business isn’t perfect, employees aren’t perfect, and…neither are you.
How to strike a balance between micromanaging and facilitating
For me, the best way to manage a team is to give someone a brief and let them get off and do it. Simples!
Facilitate regular catch-ups and let them know that your door is always open to collaboration. Whether that be on a daily basis, every other day, or even weekly get-togethers. It’s vital that they know that you’re there to support them and offer guidance when needed.
But saying all that, it is equally important to be mindful of going too far in the other direction. A team member may feel that they need to constantly pick your brain, utilise your knowledge and constantly update you. Which in itself can be unproductive to both you, the brief, and their own ability to self-regulate.
Ensure that they are aware that there is a time and place where you can both come together and raise anything that needs to be looked at or revised. Isolate a timeframe where both of you can have the freedom and space to quickly and simply communicate the direction of the brief.
It could be five minutes or it could be ten minutes, that isn’t important. But, what is important is that they know that they are valued and a vital member of the team.
Don’t create a rod in your back by leaning on employees too much
Now, there may be one or two members of staff that you do rely on more than others. They may have more responsibility for higher-priority tasks that you may have delegated to them. However, leaning on your team members too much can come back and haunt you in the long run. They may come to expect a level of supervision on your part, which can take up a lot of your time that should be spent on doing tasks that actually moves your business forward.
So for me, the biggest detriment to you expanding your business is micromanaging. It can detract you from the goals and ambitions that you set out in your personal and professional life. It can make people feel like puppets and it can stop you from creating the business and life that you want.
So, without seeming like I’m micromanaging you in this blog, I’d like to claim this short time and ask you to consider these points:
- Are you letting people know what you want them to achieve, and when?
- Are you allowing them to go off and complete it?
- Are you booking too much/too little time to have catch-ups?
- Are you enabling staff to learn about and grow your business?
- Are you allowing micromanagement to claim you and your colleagues own time?
I really hope these tips, pointers and questions allow you to get your head out of the dirt and into the clouds.
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