Leadership in the workplace is more than sitting in a big office as executives in managerial positions have several challenges they have to face to reach their full potential as leaders. One of the most significant leadership challenges both beginners and experienced individuals in management positions face is a tendency to micromanage, which they develop while climbing the hierarchy of the corporate world.
Micromanaging is a common issue in the workplace, and not only does it damage the productivity of the office, but it also leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the employees. Having worked in the corporate world for many years, I can assure you that a manager circling you and criticizing every aspect of the work you are doing is demotivating and a hindrance in the employee's learning process. According to the Accountemps survey, 59% of the employees disclosed that they once worked for a micromanager. Out of them, 68% reported decreased morale, while 55% suggested that it damaged their productivity.
In this piece, I will discuss micro-managing as a significant leadership challenge and the solutions managers and executives can adopt to prevent their micromanaging tendencies from showing up. With a managing experience where I had to put a damper on my micro-managing inclinations, I will try and test the solutions I will talk about.
What does micro-managing in the workplace look like?
According to research, micromanagement is one of the most significant reasons employees resign as they claim it kills their creativity, stresses them out, and demoralizes their entire teams.
Micromanagement in the workplace looks like me asking someone to get me a glass of water, follow them and keep criticizing how they are doing even such a simple task. The ongoing need to insist that your employees do things exactly like you do while you supervise closely breeds mistrust in the workplace and makes for one of the most unpleasant work experiences. Micromanaging damages the communication channels in the workforce, which in turn leads to an inefficient workforce with a significant drop in productivity.
How can one stop micro-managing?
While micromanagement is cancer in the workplace, it is one with a cure. There are several ways in which you can reduce micromanagement and counter your micromanaging instincts.
1. Delegate Responsibilities
Delegating tasks may seem simple, but it is a process that requires a thorough understanding of the skills and strength of all the people in the workforce. Assigning assignments that synergize with each employee's strengths and talents leads to a more productive work environment and a cohesive one. Gallup's research represents this productivity boost in numbers as it suggests that delegating generates 33% higher revenue. When you assign a project and give your coworker a step-by-step guide to follow when getting the work done, that is micromanaging. Having experienced such micromanagement both as a leadership challenge for myself and as an employee under such a leader I can assure you that the work gets messed up nine times out of ten when it is micromanaged. However, when delegating work, one would make the desired outcome known and ensure that their co-worked has all the resources, expertise, and jurisdiction needed to get the job done.
2. Introspection and Feedback
The first step to breaking any bad habit is self-reflection and recognition, and understanding of the pattern. Micromanaging is no different, as you would need to introspect and understand your micromanaging tendencies and how they manifest. Usually, the inclination to micromanage stems from insecurities and or other mental health factors, so one of the best ways to stop micromanaging is to introspect and preferably get help with any mental health issues. The introspection is directly linked to the people you are working with. The opinion that your team holds of you matters a lot in the workspace and significantly affects the workplace's efficiency. To better understand your coworkers' concerns and grievances with you, it is best to undertake an anonymous cross-evaluation assessment. This will allow your coworkers to speak freely and let you know what aspect of your micromanaging is most problematic.
3. Focus on Doing Your Own Work Better
To stop micromanaging, you need something to occupy yourself with what better way to do that than to focus on your own work and activities in the office. By focusing on work only you can do, not only will you find ways to boost your own efficiency, but you will also feel a weaker urge to micromanage.
4. Failure is Not The End of The World
If you are striving towards perfection, you will most likely micromanage coworkers. This is why adopting a fail-forward perception of things allows you to give your team the autonomy to work, fail, learn, and succeed on their own with a direction you provide instead of complete guidance.
5. Transparent Project Management System
One of the biggest reasons why people micromanage is because they want to stay in the loop. To overcome this leadership challenge of not being able to view information, tasks or track the work you have assigned to someone, you can implement a project management system with transparency. This means the team leaders or executives can simply view the status and notes on a project allowing them to track the work done. This way, they can track the status of the work without interfering with the work that the employees are doing.
In conclusion, we know that working in the corporate world can be extremely stressful; in such circumstances, not only will micromanaging damage your productivity, but it will also hamper the efficiency and motivation of your coworkers. This list gives you a set of solutions to apply to power through the leadership challenge that is micromanagement and developing a more practical and beneficial approach to working. While they may seem daunting at first, all of these solutions are things you can easily adapt and work on.