How do you avoid having to micromanage your employees?
This is a follow up question to a question I asked a few months ago on how to structure our employee meetings. I received a lot of great feedback and suggestions. Since then, I have printed out tasks lists for each employee and agendas for our meetings to keep them short and on point. Our team has been much more productive and efficient with our time since making these small changes. However, eventually I don't want to be micromanaging every little task of my employees. How can I transition out of this micromanaging role without any slack off?
Good managers should define the what (i.e. goals and objectives).
Good employees should then define the how (i.e. plan to execute).
Micromanaging is when the manager defines the what and how. Consider the following tips to avoid that:
1. Set up proper communication process
When there is a regular cadence of sharing status updates, you have less of a desire to micromanage. Setup a process where each team member shares a written summary once a week that recaps their plans, progress and problems. You can reply to reach summary with guidance and suggestions.
2. Hire people that are better than you
When the team is made up of people who are experts in their craft, there is little need to micromanage. For example, if the CEO hires a great VP Marketing, that person should know far more about marketing and be advising the CEO on best approach.
3. Jump in and help when people get stuck
Just because you are not micromanaging doesn’t mean you can’t jump in and help employees when they are stuck, or coach your team. To the contrary, coaching is very important. If you see someone doing something ineffectively, help point them in the right direction.
4. Give lots of constructive feedback
By sharing lots of feedback, you’ll give the team insight into different approaches so they can figure out what works best. To be sure, don’t expect all feedback to be used, and position feedback as a “consideration” rather than a “mandate.”
5. Shuffle responsibilities when things aren’t working
You may have the most urge to micromanage if you see someone in a role that is clearly not working. If coaching fails, it may be best to change the responsibilities and delegate them to someone else who can better execute. This might mean parting ways with that employee or finding them a different role.
To me, the answer is simple here: trust and have faith in your employees. Just don't micro-managed. Period. Micromanaging your employees is a sign that you don't have faith in their abilities to get the job done well, and on time. Rather, empower them. It's okay to check in once and a while and ask how a project is going, that's different than micromanaging. In my career, I've been both empowered and micromanaged. As someone who's always been a self-starter, I don't appreciate being micromanaged when I'm a senior-level communicator. However, I thrived in an environment in which I was left to do my job, build great relationships with my business partners, and trusted in every respect. Trust me, nobody likes being micro-managed.
In my humble opinion, ask the employees what they need in order to perform optimally. Some of them will give you a straight and useful answer, some a fairly useful answer ( the last part i'll get back to in a sec. ) ...those two will allow you to, together with you own managerial experience, to determine the optimal way to manage most of your team.
Their feedback will also give you a reference on how micro or not to manage the last part of the team.
Should you though still need more reflection, apart from the "Postive psychology approach" above - I'd consider reading through their personal profiles, and going for
- the blue specialist : Give him the less-than-perfect criteria and ask for his plan
- the red leader/asst : Tell him how it is - or ask his plan dep. on your relation
- the yellow salesman : Ask for his input/ideas, and give him a plan with lots of gateways, so that you can follow-up (very!) often.
- The green team player : give him a detailed plan, and let him work in peace
I hope that gave a bit of input and constructive reflection too
Giving everyone the responsibility of reporting on their own work instead of running a "check" on everyone is a good start. Once a month doing employee reviews instead of every week can also ease up on some of the paperwork. If you implement these kinds of self-direction, your "holes" will become evident fairly quickly and you will be capable of managing at the task level where it is most needed.
I give my employee space and I believe in them.I don't try to manage them
Promote an employee to head of department to help in assign new employees tasks or orientation of their tasks before starting work. State an employees tasks in a contract to leave no room for micromanaging.
Three key steps here: 1) make sure everyone in your company shares the business vision; in his or her own way (book: fifth discipline by Senge); 2) set SMART (look up acronym) goals for each and every one (inculding your self); 3) review progress and or adjustment on the goals quarterly; and be able to pivot! Bottomline; unless everyone individually buys in or disgrees and commits. Your time will be spend micormanaging to results!
To avoid micro managing your people, you need to be sure you have the following in place:
1. All required tasks are standardized as much as possible.
2. Where possible, all procedures should be process driven.
3. There must be a recognition/correction system in place.
If the person asking the question would contact me at (954) 684-7414. I would be available with more specific answers.
You can do it the hard way (i.e. managing the symptoms) or the easy way (eliminating the root cause). All our relationship patterns are created from within us, from a variety of sources. However, in this case, you're running a parent/child pattern. If you cast your mind back to your childhood, who micromanaged you...Mom, Dad, teachers, big bro or sis? Once you see the connections you need to, you will notice your staff starting to take the initiative you wanted to but didn't feel allowed to. Enjoy...:-)
The key thing here is trust. If you can trust your team to do their jobs well they will have more trust in you as a leader, feel more valued and work harder to keep that trust. Ownership is another important thing. If people have ownership of certain projects and tasks it gives them a sense of responsibility, accountability and importance. If your communication internally is clear and people know what is expected of them, feel valued, feel included and don't feel micromanaged they will work harder, gain confidence and may even surprise you. You will still need to keep an eye on things and make sure people are being productive but you don't need to monitor their every move.