Are You a Micromanager?

May 10, 2012
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Micromanagement of employees often stifles teamwork, productivity, creativity and loyalty.  It also diminishes trust and adds inordinate amounts of stress.

Ironically, most micromanagers don’t realize the extent to which they micromanage.  They are so busy thoroughly inspecting and monitoring the activities of their employees, and rarely put themselves under the magnifying glass of painstaking evaluation.

To determine whether or not you are a micromanager, ask yourself the following questions:

1.   Do you have consistent behavioral swings?  Are there certain situations, times of the day, week or quarter when you become extremely agitated?  For example, do you experience a high level of anxiety every time your quarterly report is due to your superior?  Perhaps this causes you to put abnormal amounts of pressure on your employees and babysit their every step.

By reflecting on the patterns of your performance under pressure and respective management style, you will be able to understand what triggers you to micromanage employees.  Being aware of those triggers will enable you to catch yourself before escalating an issue to the point of putting the person responsible under undue amounts of stress and strain.   Instead, you will learn how to calmly flag potential problems before they escalate and offer solutions that enable your employees to save face.

2.   Does the poor performance of an individual on your team cause you to make unfair demands on everyone else?  Often times, when a single employee fails to deliver on time or accurately, it causes a leader to dive into crisis mode.  He or she becomes overly concerned about the performance of every other person on the team and ultimately micromanages them to minimize further failure.

If a single employee cannot complete the assignment to your satisfaction, engage someone who can.  Deciding to do so sooner rather than later will be mutually beneficial.  If you identify a veritable performance issue, address it via your organization’s formal performance management process. 

Contemplate how your team members can coordinate ways to keep you abreast of their activities so that there is no need for you to fret about how everyone is performing.    Perhaps team members can compile and provide a single, comprehensive report on a daily or weekly basis . Your ability to see how everyone is performing at a glance- and overall, will lessen the likelihood of your launching into micromanagement mode.

3.   How do you prefer to be managed and treated?  Most likely, you appreciate it when your own boss gives you space or refrains from smothering you during a challenge that you are doing your best to overcome.  Imagine how it feels to be constantly scrutinized and mistrusted; Not very good.

As a leader, you are charged with empowering your team to make the right decisions and perform their duties to the best of their abilities.  Your job is not to squelch, rather it is to support, your employees.

By ascertaining the differences between adding value and acting as a perfectionist, you will minimize your tendencies to micromanage.

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