The concept of attention to detail is one of the most lauded skills listed on many employees’ resumes. Attention to detail and organization is also a vital component to any set of leadership skills. However, all too often managers and leaders step over the line of “organized” and into the realm of micromanagement.
How does this overstep happen? What are some ways to avoid becoming a micromanager? Rest assured, micromanagement is a common ailment in many workplaces – and the good news is that with a little effort it’s possible to improve.
According to a 2015 British study of happiness as it correlates to productivity, employees showed an average of a 12% increase in productivity when happier. A management team that truly values the happiness (and resulting success) of its employee base will show better results. Micromanagement, for all of its good intention, is a deterrent of happiness and productivity.
Empowering Employees to Avoid Micromanagement
Employees who feel they have a voice will feel more valued in the workplace, which can improve their productivity. Micromanagement can kill empowerment, making employees feel they aren’t trusted.
Now, taking a complete hands-off approach may not be the answer for every workplace or manager. It does not need to be an all-or-nothing situation, even when moving away from micromanagement. Rather, implementing small changes such as reducing the number of meetings or cubicle visits or starting an employee feedback monitor can help alleviate the feeling of micromanagement.
Managing the outcome — rather than the process — can also give employees the feeling of empowerment. A leader who wants to be involved in every minor detail can feel overbearing and cause productivity to decline. Instead, try to trust the process and empower the employee to problem solve and meet the deadline in their own way.
Set Expectations Ahead of Time
One downfall of any project can be a lack of expectation and/or boundaries at the outset. Shrewd leaders will know their goals ahead of time and be able to outline them to their team.
By setting expectations early, leaders can eliminate confusion down the road. For example, if a project has a deadline of 30 days from the start, outlining milestones or checkpoints that are expected can help avoid frustration from leadership and feeling as if they need to step in to move things along.
When beginning a new project, avoid micromanaging by instead setting clear deadlines, check-in points, and expectations for what the completed project should look like. Once those expectations have been set, the leader should have formed enough trust in their team to allow them to do their jobs without interference.
Leaders who try to control every step of the work process are often a detriment to the morale in the workplace. In order to avoid this, leaders should make efforts to be aware of how they are micromanaging or how they can further empower their workers.
Of course, this goes both ways. Employees must show they are capable of managing their own time and correcting their mistakes without hand holding. If both parties make efforts to improve their workflow and management skills (both of themselves and of others), micromanagement can be less of a problem that takes away from the overall success of the project.