— February 23, 2019
“I feel I am a control freak boss who is micromanaging her team. I am afraid I will lose the superstars I have hired.”
Priya is not the only smart leader to suffer from micromanagement. There is a little micromanager in all of us. Steve Jobs is a perfect example of a reformed micromanager too. He found amazing success as he learned through his failures though.
In my experience of collaborating with various organizations, I frequently hear talented employees complain about their boss being a control freak. It simply brings you down in the bumps to unconsciously sabotage your own success, however.
You have hired superstars! High time you stop micromanaging them.
“Why?” you ask.
- To never fully give your talented team members the authority to make the important decisions that came up with their positions and being overly involved in all the processes slow down the organizational decision-making.
- When employees are not given the opportunity to think for themselves, it severely affects their confidence. Why would the best players choose to thrive in an environment that does not let them grow? They will eventually jump ship.
- Innovation demands room for mistakes and gets stifled otherwise.
- When a leader is busy doing everyone else’s job, they fail at doing their own as good as it could be done.
Do you recognize yourself anywhere here? Luckily there are ways to stop pulling out micromanagement as a jackknife.
Here we go:
- Baby steps for the win
It is not that a micromanager would stop being a control freak overnight. Good things take time.
The best approach is to go slow. Aiming to change in the blink of an eye, however, may also deter you from continuing to change the behavior in the first place.
Further, even if you are trying to make things better, your teammates may not understand it at once. They will need and take some time to warm up their critical thinking skills and then eventually evaluate the flexibility you have been trying to give them.
- Brushed up delegation skills matter
There are online project management software that can help you loosen your grip on employees and still manage on meeting deadlines. Some of them have Kanban boards that help you assign work on boards and define workflow stages. The teammates can see work moving through stages and get empowered to self-manage with a better understanding of workflows. Everyone knows who is supposed to do what and when they are supposed to do it, making a clear distribution of work.
Further, there are other tools like Gantt charts that make delegation easier. You can set dependencies between various tasks and make sure employees get notified whenever deadlines shift and work changes. This way they will feel independent enough to tackle unforeseen changes in scheduled plans. You just have to select one central place that meets your organizational needs the right way.
- Healthy dialogues are encouraging
Once you are open to ideas, you will have a team that has something to say. No matter you require a suggestion box or a meeting, you have to tell the team that their ideas are welcome at any given time.
Further, it’s not only about listening to ideas, it is also about seeking to understand in a tone that encourages a healthy dialogue. You bet the team will consider coming to you in the first flush of enthusiasm. There is probably no leader who wants the good ideas to end up on the back burner where they may be buried and forgotten, do you? So, maybe you could start valuing ideas by putting the best ones into action too.
- Reporting of employees should be easy-going
We all know reporting is important to evaluate employee performance. But over-analyzing to another level is off-putting. There are tools that let you fetch data as desired. For instance, you can check hours spent on a project or even a task without having to ask the teammates yet and again. Advanced tools make finding information easy. However, remember that data will tell only one part of the story.
Further, some tools save you from going to the teammates yet and again to ask for daily status reports too — the tool does it for you. You just have to define the dew key performance indicators and stick with them.
- Instructions — the simpler, the better
I have heard many people complaining about how their boss is into over-explaining themselves. The effort, probably, is to make the employee carry out the task according to the directions given. However, if you are delegating a responsibility, you should show enough trust to let the person practice their responsibilities and the reason they’ve been hired for in the first place. Cutting down on detailed instructions and giving only the most essential information will help.
And yet again, do not ever forget what should be your ultimate jackknife instead of micromanagement: an online project management and team collaboration software which has all the right tools in one place and allows you to manage all areas from a distance without having to poke the employees repeatedly.
If you are in an honest conversation with yourself, you would sure redirect your leadership focus from being a control freak to being a coach who supports their superstar performers.
How do you think you should lead your superstars?
Redirect your leadership focus from controlling your talented team members to coaching and supporting them. You may need to tell them you need them, support them to get out of their way to get the job done in the best possible way.