How To Overcome Micromanagement
In all businesses there’s a fine line that owners and managers need to be able to walk when figuring out “how” to manage and get results from their team. We all know that micromanaging often shuts down conversations, growth and opportunities. Yet, for many business owners and managers the desire to not micromanage, or to be seen as second guessing their employees can lead to abdication. Often this abdication continues until something goes wrong and then there’s an overcorrection leading right back to employees feeling they are being micromanaged.
Management is a balancing act between unleashing employees to get results without constant oversight and overseeing work to ensure it is getting done right. Management is not a “set it and forget it” type of task. It’s always evolving and there is the constant need to adjust to keep the right balance of knowing what’s going on while also empowering team members to take ownership of their work.
Here are a few insights to help you ensure that your business is achieving the right balance when it comes to management:
- Define roles and expectations. When roles are out of date or not defined at all, it’s easy for tasks to get dropped. This type of miscommunication leads to a lot of issues that can be solved by taking the time to intentionally design every role within your team. Knowing what their job duties are helps create a sense of structure for your team members. It makes their position tangible, which makes it easier to create the right conversation about achieving results.
- Empower employees to take ownership of their position. This is a mindset that needs to be set with every member of your team. Have them look at the description for their position and get clear on what is expected of them. Get agreement that they will take ownership of those duties. Have a discussion on what ownership means. This Insight Ownership of a Task goes into this in more detail, but you need to be clear with every member of your team about what the business needs from them. Once it’s defined, you need to gain agreement that they will take ownership of their role.
- Create the right conversations at the right time. Your business needs to dedicate time to management. It can’t be something that happens “as needed” or you’ll only be managing when things aren’t going right, which makes you and your employee feel like you’re stepping in to micromanage. When you react on an “as needed” basis you’ll end up having conversations when someone is distracted and can’t actively listen; or worse, not have them at all. We prefer UpSideDown Meetings that are held using a structured agenda. That structured agenda should be designed based on the roles and expectations that have been documented. The meetings should be treated like client meetings which means they are seen and treated as important. They are not canceled and are rarely rescheduled, because they are valuable. The meetings should be led by the team member. Remember, you’re empowering them to own the position which includes being able to celebrate successes as well as report potential issues, discuss their ideas, and communicate what they need from the business to be successful.
- Use reports/metrics to gauge success. Having the right conversation is important but making sure the conversation is factual is also important. Once you’ve defined the roles and expectations, your business should also design the reports and metrics that are needed to ensure that your team members are getting the results your business needs. This is a part of their toolbox. Going over these metrics and reports should also be a part of the UpSideDown Meetings.
You might notice that the key to management is a lot about structure. The structure is the agreement between you and your team member. It sets the tone and ensures that the right conversations are happening at the right time. Through structure you’re setting the rules to the game that you both are agreeing to abide by and therefore eliminating the need to micromanage.