Although Millennials enjoy getting feedback, the vast majority of people don’t like being micromanaged. So how can you tell if you’re a micromanager — and if you are, what can you do about it?
How to tell if you’re a micromanager
There’s a difference between being a good leader and micromanaging — and that difference is all about trust. If you’re a good leader, you assign people tasks that play to their strengths and trust them to complete those tasks. But if you micromanage your people, you want to know every last detail about how they complete their tasks — plus, you prefer they go about the things the way you would, as Muriel Maignan Wilkins points out in the Harvard Business Review article “Signs That You’re a Micromanager.” In addition, you like frequent updates on your team’s progress, and you always feel the need to correct certain aspects of their deliverables.
Tips to stop micromanaging
Fortunately, you can teach yourself to stop micromanaging. This process is all about letting go and trusting that your people can do the tasks you’ve hired them to do — and do them well. Keep the following tips in mind.
Provide clarity regarding expectations and instructions. In his LinkedIn article “People Hate Micromanagers. Here Are 3 Tips to Not Being One,” Paul Petrone advises providing your employees with as many insights as possible about the what, how, and why of specific tasks. This will reduce any confusion or misunderstanding about the purpose of the task and how you’d like it completed.
Always use a helpful tone. As a manager, it’s more conducive to support your employees than to chastise them. So when you check in with them, take the approach of, “This is a good effort, and here’s how you can improve upon it.” That way, your team members can feel proud of what they’ve accomplished and excited to learn how to do better.
Trust your team to do a good job. As stated in the Forbes article “Try These 12 Strategies If You Need to Stop Micromanaging,” oftentimes, trust issues are at the heart of a micromanaging habit. Nevertheless, you need to be able to trust in your team members’ abilities — and if you don’t, that lack of confidence needs to be merited. Ask yourself truthfully where your trust issues stem from, and if it’s a personal issue, take steps to gain confidence in your team. For example, it can be helpful to physically distance yourself from where your team members are working and limit the number of times you check in about a project. It can even be helpful to bring deadlines forward to give yourself plenty of time to review deliverables and allow your team to make improvements.
It might take some time and energy before you can really stop micromanaging, but ultimately, it can have a big payoff in terms of improved employee satisfaction, a more creative team, and higher performance.