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How you can resist the urge to micromanage employees

Posted by Neha De

February 4, 2022    |     3-minute read (408 words)

If you are the kind of leader who does not like to delegate work, wants to be copied on emails, frequently asks for extremely detailed reports and feels that in order to get something right, you need to do it yourself, then you are a micromanager. And let’s be honest; no one likes to be micromanaged. It’s demotivating, demoralizing and frustrating.

Micromanagement erodes your team’s morale and limits their growth potential by creating an atmosphere of mistrust. In addition, it interferes with your ability to concentrate on the most important things. If you are caught up in the little details of a number of tasks, you are not able to think of the big picture.

According to research, costs of long-term micromanagement include:

• Poor staff morale.
• Higher turnover – micromanagement is one of the top 3 reasons employees resign.
• Lower productivity.

“Ultimately, micromanagement leads to decreased growth potential in a department,” the researchers write. “Managers who put too much emphasis on daily operational details can miss the broader picture and fail to plan for departmental expansion.”

How you can stop micromanaging your employees

Here are three ways you can stop micromanaging your employees: 

1. Learn about human nature – A growing body of knowledge is emerging about how humans make decisions, perform at peak levels and work together effectively. Make use of it. Whether you follow neuroscience or psychology, investing in the development of individuals and teams, creating psychological safety, understanding how the brain responds to different stimuli, and treating people as fully adult adults have been proven to yield significant results. 

2. Build soft skills – To be a leader, you need to be comfortable around people. If it is something that does not come naturally to you, start by asking your workers questions such as “What can I do to make your success easier?” or “What can we do to improve?”

An open and honest conversation that assumes an abundance of insights and wisdom rather than a scarcity will build your skills and improve your overall team performance.

3. Strive for clarity around the mission in addition to the metrics While obsessing over minute-by-minute measurements, it's easy to lose sight of the larger mission. Let your employees know the importance of their work and how it improves people's lives. The best way to ensure that your staff members are doing the right thing when no one is looking is to connect them deeply to the mission. 

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