There are two sides to micromanagement. The first is the harm you do by being a micromanager. The second is the harm working for a micromanager can do to your own career. We'll talk about the first side below and the second side next week.
What is micromanagement?
Superficially it seems like a good idea to supervise your staff closely assure they are doing a good job. Pitching in and working closely with them seems like a food way to demonstrate a strong work ethic and be a good example for your team.
What could be wrong with that? A lot.
Micromanagement really isn't managing at all. It is doing part of your staff members' jobs for them. This robs them of their independence and gives them a sense of powerlessness. They aren't going to develop skills and self-confidence if you are making their decisions for them. They'll develop the habit of waiting for you to make decisions for them slowing down their progress. Perhaps the worst thing about micromanaging is that it takes away your staff's sense of accomplishment in a job well done.
You aren't doing yourself any good by being a micromanager either. The time you spend micromanaging takes away from the time you should be spending coordinating projects, working with other managers and developing relationships with customers. Compensating for micromanaging by working long hours can increase job-related stress and strain personal relationships with family and friends should you spend too much time working. Working excessively long hours week after week can lead to burnout.
Tips to prevent or cure micromanagement
First, remember that there is more than one way to work on a project and do the various tasks associated with bench work. Your own way may not be the only one that works. It may not even be the best way. You need to prepare your staff members to perform their work successfully and then step back allowing them to perform their jobs and develop their own solutions to solving problems.
This doesn't mean that you don't discuss their work with them and track their progress. It doesn't mean you don't coach them so they can improve their skills.<'>Second, remember that micromanagement implies a lack of trust in your staff members to perform their jobs well on their own. Your employees have to believe you trust them in order to do a good job. Otherwise they will feel frustrated, powerless and afraid to make decision on their own.
Third, coach your staff members on how to do their jobs if they need this. Customarily you'll do most of your coaching with new employees. Coach them on how to do something well and then trust them to do their job well until they run into problems. Then it is time to coach them some more. If coaching doesn't improve their performance, assigning the person to a different job or firing them may be necessary.
Finally, lead by example, not by doing your staff members work for them. Your staff members will feel a greater sense of personal accomplishment and be more productive. You can't lead if you are always looking over your staff members' shoulders.
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