Do you know anybody who claims to be a micromanager? Of course not, nobody self-identifies as a micromanager. It would be hard for you to find anybody who claims to be a micromanager. That must mean there are few micromanagers and companies don’t have problems with micromanagement right?
I’ll let you answer that one on your own.
There are two key components for battling micromanagement. First, communication and expectations have to be clear, concise, and mutually understood. Clear communication ensures everybody agrees on expectations, goals and outcomes. Second, managers need to let their employees complete the project with their own style and workflow. In other words, managers need to “let go.”
Micromanagement Begins With Poor Communication
Clear instructions from a manager to subordinates will go a long way to reduce the appearance of micromanagement, and it will increase employee engagement with the project.
There are four areas of any project that must be clear to the employee;
The employee must be given targets for the end result of the project. A clear goal is one that can be quantified and measured. Metrics aren’t the only answer for gauging progress, but measurable goals let everybody know how they are doing.
The employee should be given clear boundaries with what resources are available and know how much of each resource they can use for the project.
Managers need to watch over the project and give subtle direction if necessary. This is a basic of employee engagement, and often, the employee will welcome the oversight. It lets them know they are on the right track for the project. The opposite of micromanagement is not “free reign.”
The desired outcome of the project has to be the same for both the manager and the employee. When both have the same expectations for the outcome of the project, there is less chance for confusion or disappointment.
Managers Have To Let Go
The toughest thing for managers to do is allow the employee to handle the project their way. Managers, and people in general, often feel they could complete the task better, so they offer their “advice” with a “Here’s the way I would do it…” suggestion.
This approach has a strong chance of creating friction and lowering employee engagement because they feel that they aren’t trusted or that their manager isn’t confident in their ability to do their job. Managers should trust their employees to handle it their own way and only step in if it is clear that the whole project will suffer without some interference.
Micromanagement Is Like A Viral Disease
Micromanagement has a way of spreading throughout a company. Since a project represents many people and departments, people will want to make sure it is being done right. Their definition of right is usually the way they would do it.
Usually, it begins with the head of a project micromanaging employees and they, in turn, will start to micromanage people under them. This is usually a subtle event, and it occurs over time, often unnoticed.
The cure for micromanagement begins at the top. When top management or C-suite managers let their employees complete tasks with minimal interference, it frees people up for more innovative thinking and problem solving.
At Equal Parts Consulting we have worked with companies who were throttled by micromanagement problems. Often, they did not see the problem because it was part of the company culture. After we showed them how micromanagement decreased employee engagement and helped them bring it under control, they experienced positive growth and it created a healthier company atmosphere.
Contact us for a consultation and learn how we can work together to bring your business to its full potential of innovation, growth, and employee engagement.