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How to Not Micromanage Your Team



No one likes to be micromanaged. Period. If you hire the best, then you should trust that you will get the best out of them.


Recently, I had a meeting with a colleague who insisted that she was not a micromanager and yet every example she gave about what her team was doing (or not doing) implied otherwise.


But, here's the thing -- you can't be a good leader by micromanaging. You must let things go -- as hard as it may be. Not only for your team's sake, but also for your sake. It can't be healthy for you to be constantly worried about every task (big or small) that may or may not get done. It can't be healthy to spend so much time worrying. It must be exhausting. This type of behaviour will cause you to burn out or worse, give you serious life-threatening health issues.


So how can you, as a manager, curb this behaviour? A Harvard Business Review article by Rebecca Knight suggests the following:


Do:

  • Ask yourself why you micromanage and reflect on your need for control

  • Refine your 'to do' list by prioritizing the tasks and projects that matter most to you

  • Talk to your team about how you’d like to be kept apprised of their progress

Don’t:

  • Renege on your vote of confidence—tell your reports you trust them and let them do their jobs

  • Over react when things don’t go exactly as you’d like them to—take a breath and figure out a way to correct the situation if it’s truly necessary

  • Go too far—you don’t want to become a hands-off boss


At the end of the day, you hired your team because you thought they were the best at what they do. If that's truly the case, then let them shine. They may fall on their face the first few times, but that's what gives you the opportunity to teach them and lead them. And it will cause you less stress knowing that if they don't perform as you would like, then you always have options and choices. But, if you don't give them the opportunity to try to take some things off your plate, then you're doing yourself and your team a disservice.


You focus on the big stuff

and let them (or us!) handle the small stuff.


Until next time,




1. Knight, Rebecca. Harvard Business Review: "How to stop micromanaging your team.", May 2015.