“Please micromanage me,” says no one – ever. Probably, with a child, this is called good parenting. However, when it comes to managing a team or company – this management style can frustrate and demotivate the employees. As a leader, of course you can’t let your staff do whatever they want and there has to be some control. However, it’s important to recognise the fine line between being a micromanager and a hands-on manager. So, which one are you?
Micromanager: Quick Self-check
Like most micromanagers, they probably don’t even realised that they’re doing it. Check out the list extracted from Harvard Business Review below. Let’s be honest, have any of these ever applied to you:
- Constantly want to know where all your team members are and what they’re working on.
- Tell employees exactly what to do, how and when to do it.
- Any decisions, even the small ones have to go through you first.
- There is little or no delegation of authority given to your employees.
- Input given has no value.
- Employees spend more time reporting on their progress than working on projects.
- Distrust or second-guess your team.
- Avoid vacations because you worry the office will fall apart without you.
- Assign blame to someone, when things don’t go as planned.
- Feel like you know best most ( if not all) of the time.
If you answered “yes” to more than a few of the situations above, you may be on the path to the dark side. But, it’s okay. There’s always room and time to change.
How To Be A Hands-on Manager
#1 Be an active listener
Typically, the know-it-all leader refuses to listen to anyone, but him/herself. Believe that your team is smart and capable. Be open to different ideas and ask questions for clarity. They might positively surprise you, if you let them. You need to be able to see the wisdom in other people’s suggestions or opinions. We’ve talked about this before in our previous article.
#2 Set expectations, without dictating
Setting clear, measurable goals makes what is expected from an employee obvious. That being said, there’s a difference between sharing that expectation and dictating how to get to that result. Your job as a leader is to clearly set the conditions of satisfaction for any task you assign.
While it is important to articulate what you foresee the final outcome to look like, don’t give an A to Z instructions on how to get there. After all, how can you expect your team to learn if they don’t get the chance to walk the path themselves?
#3 Prioritise what matters
Start by determining what work is critical for you to be involved in and what items are less important. Besides that, take a look at your to-do list to see if there’s any pending work that can be delegated to your team members. This will also help your team members learn new skills, improve your overall performance and allow your team to fill the gaps when there are emergency situations.
#4 Guide more, do less
Stop spending your time monitoring every minute detail of how the work is being done. Instead, make sure your team members are on the same page about how work will unfold and check in regularly about the progress. The key is not over do it and apply point number 3. You should be serving your purpose as a resource, creating learning opportunities and teaching accountability.
#5 Monitor progress with limited check-ins
Just because you’re not micromanaging, that doesn’t mean you’re completely hands-off either. Schedule consistent and necessary checkpoints, so you can make sure you’re on the same page.
However, constant updates can decrease productivity, because the team member has to stop what they’re doing to engage with you. Plus, you will build an unhealthy culture, where your team just do things to get you off their shoulders.
The bottom line is… in today’s agile, fast-paced business environment, it’s vital to trust, let go, and empower your team to take ownership and do their jobs.