Nobody wants to be “that” parent, or “that” spouse. Along the same lines, no manager wants to be “that” boss, the kind that hovers over every decision and halts progress by participating in every tiny, routine matter. No one wants to see themselves as a micromanager. But what if you are?
While few bosses self-identify as a micromanager, a vast majority of workers are intimately familiar with this management style. In his book My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide, consultant Harry E. Chambers reveals a study conducted by his Trinity Solutions. It found that nearly 8 out of every ten workers (79%) had experienced micromanagement.
This supervisory style can lead to significant consequences. Harvard Business Review cites disengagement and absenteeism as potential employee responses to an overbearing boss. This is backed up by Chambers’ findings. His data shows that 69% of employees stuck under the thumb of a micromanager have considered changing jobs.
They say the first step in any recovery is admitting you have a problem. But how do you know that you have a micromanagement problem? Here are a few signs that your bossing style has tipped over the edge:
You Think Everyone Else is Incompetent
Every time someone completes a task, you shake your head. You’re shocked at what they think passes for acceptable work. How did you end up surrounded by such incompetent people?
Of course, they aren’t incompetent. After all, you probably hired them. You know deep down that you’ve built a creative, capable, high-functioning team. The problem has more to do with your approach to management.
You Never Settle for “Good Enough”
In a vacuum, high standards aren’t a bad thing. Insisting on perfect results seems like an admirable trait. After all, you wouldn’t score high in an interview informing your prospective employer, “I always settle for good enough.”
All this is true. But, in practice, you often need to set reasonable expectations. Your participation in a task might lead to an A+ result every time. But, giving your employers leeway, and accepting a B+ offering might allow you to get more done in the long run.
You Focus Too Much on Process and Not Enough on Results
Here’s a phrase that might seem familiar: “I wouldn’t have done it that way.” It’s the micromanagers’ mantra. But what’s more important: process or results?
Of course, proper procedures tend to lead to good outcomes. Still, you need to recognize that there might be multiple ways of achieving the same goal. And, by allowing them some input and flexibility, your workers could devise some innovative approaches that you wouldn’t have considered.
In other words: don’t confuse your way with the only way.
You Have to Approve Every Decision and Participate in Every Conversation
Do you attend every meeting? At those conferences, do you monopolize the conversation? Do you require everyone to CC you to every email?
All this may sound like an excellent way to keep tabs on your staff. It comes at a cost, though. Your team feels restrained by your constant presence. At the same time, you spend all your time at low-level meetings and find your inbox stuffed with routine correspondence.
You Don’t Have Time for Big-Picture Projects.
Think about how you spend your day. Does your schedule fill up with low-level tasks? If so, you’re wasting a valuable resource: you.
It’s a question of opportunity costs. Your company gets the highest value when you devote your time to big-picture planning. Don’t get bogged down in details. Delegate the tasks you can, so that you have more time for high-impact projects.
Of course, loosening the reigns gets easier when you trust your staff. Having the right people in place eliminates the need for micromanagement. By partnering with a top-flight staffing firm, like Recruiting In Motion, you’ll get the competent, innovative staff you need.