Loosen Up and Let Go: How Not to Micromanage Employees | DCR Workforce Blog

Loosen Up and Let Go: How Not to Micromanage Employees

Do you find yourself dealing with the following: Being cc’d on every email, setting unrealistic deadlines, sending out tasks with lengthy instructions and observing your employees at a slightly-less-than stalker level?

If this is the reality in your workplace, then you’re dealing with symptoms of being a micromanager. But there is hope!

When employees have to work under a micromanager, they may feel like they can’t be trusted or can’t do enough to please their manager. This creates an unhealthy working environment.

On the manager’s side, you have to consider what the underlining issues of the micromanager’s behavior are. Research suggests that micromanaging is a reaction to fear and a result of the pressure of perfectionism. Yet the irony is that a micromanager’s pursuit for perfection hinders their ability to get work done as well as impedes their employees from learning how to do their work.

In fact, the bigger question is: How does a micromanager break free from bad habits, start truly delegating and really trusting their employees?

How to stop micromanaging

Take a look in the mirror: When managers oversee others, they can quickly identify flaws in their team members. However, managers need to analyze how they communicate and assign work. Questions a micromanager might want to start asking themselves include “Can certain tasks that are not so important be delegated?” and “Am I training employees to take on more responsibility?” Managers can get so involved in completing assignments that they forget that they’re also responsible for teaching employees how to sharpen their skills. Also for further introspection, here is a helpful link about outdated management practices that could help you improve your management style.

Delegate and train: After taking a look at themselves, it’s now time to take a good look at your team. Let’s face it, some employees are workhorses, while others are not as ambitious. We know that delegating tasks with less supervision is the way to end micromanaging, but if you feel you don’t have dependable people, you’ll fall back into your old ways. For a micromanager to change, you have to understand the long-term benefits of delegation. When you initially start delegating tasks, they possibly won’t be done “right” or even the way that you would typically tackle them. That’s a fact you must not only accept, but also realize that this is also a way to discover a newer, faster, better way of doing things.

Develop the right team: Some people can’t be helped, and they will weigh a team down. So going forward an organization must be more selective in hiring employees. Organizations can’t be scared to be picky and leave the position open for an extended period of time until the right candidate comes along. Know what you want and don’t settle for less because it will cost you in the end.

Create a feedback system: Gathering information about how everyone is working is a good way to keep everyone on their toes. An idea that I read about and loved was anonymous feedback from colleagues. If one or two people are saying the similar things about an employee, as manager it’s your duty to help that employee with continued development. Similarly, managers need to be evaluated by their employees. It can be an eye-opener to put an anonymous 360-degree review process in place. Constructive feedback helps everyone and creates a better team.

Managers have an insanely tough job. They’re held to a higher standard of accountability, and with stress like that to deal with any one of us can fall into the trap of being more controlling and micromanaging. Loosening up is possible with a good dose of introspection, delegation, organization and evaluation.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Elise is DCR’s HR Manager responsible for everything from compliance to employee relations to admin to just plain old fun. She believe in an “I’m on it” approach when it comes to dealing with being proactive and going above and beyond on the job or when conquering new projects, changes, and challenges.