Are You a Micromanager?

Are You a Micromanager?
Written By: Jenny Reolfi

Leadership is about change, and it takes a great leader to keep an open mind and remain self-aware. Making regular assessments of strengths and weaknesses makes leaders stronger. Micromanaging is a common pain point between leaders and teams. But what is a micromanager and how does their excessive supervision hurt the growth of their team?

Who are micromanagers?

  • Often high-performing individuals promoted to leadership positions.
  • Leaders who suffer from a lack of trust, or don’t believe other people can perform a task as well as they can.
  • Leaders who are afraid of looking removed from the process if they aren’t an active part of every detail and decision. Driven by a fear poor results, this lack of trust can lead to an aggressive management style.
  • New leaders who haven’t found the balance between identifying tasks that need be personally completed and sharing responsibility with their team.
  • Business owners who personally performed all tasks out of necessity during the startup of their organization. The sudden growth of their business, staff or tasks often demands a change in leadership style. Also, sometimes the emotional investment and pride in their company makes it a struggle to let go of any piece, no matter how small.

I might be a micromanager… what can I do?

Change won’t happen overnight and trying to force it will stress everyone’s nerves. Begin slowly by building trust with your team through sharing responsibility and accountability.

Do this by starting small and testing new processes on low-risk projects. Delegate a project to one person or team and clearly outline your expectations and parameters of the project as well as the ideal end result.

Most importantly, do not check in with them throughout the process outside of set meetings. Let them know that if they have questions they are more than welcome to ask, but that you trust them to make decisions and complete the project on their own.

Keep in mind that results may not always hit the mark as you and your team adjust and find a process that works. Don’t let these hiccups discourage you.

Remember, these trials are helping build a stronger, more successful team and your goal is bigger than the results of one low priority task.

What is the benefit?

By moving away from the micro-manager style, you open the door to…

  • Give your team a chance to learn and grow
  • Build a stronger team through accountability and responsibility
  • Have more time to focus on your work
  • Enhance workplace relationships/trust
  • Be a stronger leader

    The moment of truth

In the early stages of the transformation, your team members may still approach you for project approval. This is a defining moment for you as a leader and a growth opportunity for them.

It will be tempting to jump in and take control, but you must encourage them to follow their own path. How else will you know what they’re truly capable of?

Along with letting go of control throughout the process, you must also resist the urge to backpedal and redo all their hard work. This will demoralize your team, foster resentment and destroy the trust you built.

What if I don’t see the results I want?

  • Don’t overreact
  • Take a walk or clear your head if needed
  • Have a constructive meeting with project participants
  • Identify missed opportunities and develop ways to improve

Remember that pulling back doesn’t mean being hands off. There will still be some situations where you will need to be more hands-on. Use those projects as an opportunity to coach your team and train them to be more capable in this type of work. In the future, this will give them the capability to take on higher level work and will give you the confidence that they can handle it.