“Trust is a core currency of any relationship. Sometimes our need to control and micromanage everything erodes our confidence in ourselves and others. The truth: people are much more capable than we think. A hearty dose of trust is often what’s needed to unlock the magic. Go ahead, have faith.”
Kris Carr hit the nail on the head in the above quote. As a manager or leader, trust is the key to effectively influencing others. Without the ability to influence you completely lose your ability to lead. But, trusting the abilities of others is often easier said than done. When you don’t trust others to perform their work tasks at your definition of a satisfactory level you get caught up in micromanagement madness.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a micromanager. Do you remember how it made you feel? Did you dread walking into work every day? Did you cringe when you heard your manager’s voice down the hall? Micromanagement destroys employee morale and the culture of the whole organization. Here are three important aspects of micromanagement that you must understand.
Your issue not theirs
Your inability to let go of control is your problem, not your employees’ problem. Your micromanagement is based solely on your need to control everything. Employees do not cause micromanagement, insecure leaders do. This creates an unhealthy environment for everyone to work in. Through the lens of a micromanager, they are forced to micromanage everyone because everyone else is incapable. This is an absolute lie. Capable employees are hired to do specific jobs and should be provided the necessary resources and then allowed to do their job without a babysitter.
Relinquishing the control of micromanagement requires you to build confidence, not only in your employees, but in yourself. You must give employees the training they need, and then let them do what they were hired to do. You must also be confident that you are able to give them the tools they need perform their work and problem-solve on their own. You must also be confident that you are capable of monitoring and managing performance from a distance. Through the lens a micromanager, they are overly confident in their own abilities and underestimate the abilities of others. This overconfidence is usually compensation for lack of true self-esteem. Develop your own healthy self-confidence and then work WITH others to develop confidence in their abilities.
Learn to trust
If you don’t have mutual trust with you employees, you have nothing. The relationships you need to be successful are built on a foundation of trust and respect. When you look at others through the lens of a micromanager, no one seems trustworthy; no one seems capable; except, of course, yourself. This is the perspective of someone who is insecure and is willing to kill all trust to hide it. Your employees are as capable of doing their job as you are of doing yours. If they aren’t, it’s you that has dropped the ball. Give them the training and resources they need and then trust them with their own responsibilities.
Let Go of the Madness
Good managers are NEVER micromanagers. If you are a good leader, you will never need to micromanage employees. You will give them training, tools, and guidance, but you will never micromanage. Organizations thrive when employees are engaged, making decisions, and designing their own work. Micromanagement is the madness that suffocates the life out of any team, department, or organization. Let go of the madness.
Reading this article again, I’m reminded that when you take something too far, no matter how noble or good that something is, it become damaging and harmful. Your greatest strength can become your greatest weakness.
Micro-management is effective when used at a specific time. The problem is because it works so well at that one time, people that use it think it will work well every time.
My first experience with micro-management was when I was doing construction. We were off schedule because there were a lot of personality conflicts slowing thing down. Micro-management helped us get past those. It also helped us gain a respect for each other, reducing the friction we all had in the long run.
However, I was in an environment where micro-management was the norm. The manager even walled us off from the rest of the building and put a clear window behind us so he could open a curtain and watch us work at our desks. This is not an exaggeration.
You make a great point, Chris Pehura and provide a great example of a temporary success turning into a long-term frustration. Thank you.
I was fortunate to have learned, early in my career, that micromanagement is a no-no. If you have to do that with one or more employees then there are several possible reasons. You haven’t properly trained and equipped the employee. You hired a lazy or incompetent person. You have little faith in yourself. In all those cases you are part or all of the problem, not the employee.
It isn’t complicated. Hire the best you can find and afford. Train them well and provide the needed equipment. Get out of the way and let them do their job.
I absolutely agree with, Ken. Thank you for sharing your experiences.