5 Powerful Reasons to Stop Micromanaging Your Team

Why Giving Team Members Autonomy Will Improve Performance and Achievements

If you can learn to stop micromanaging your team, you will become a better leader or manager.

Micromanagement is an ineffective strategy that can lead to team performance issues and also affect the dynamics between team members.

Micromanagement is when a person responsible for the success of a team, controls or monitors everything that goes on within their team.

Wikipedia defines micromanagement as “management especially with excessive control or attention on details.”

Micromanagement often has a negative connotation because team members do not have the freedom to work as they prefer.

An example of micromanaging a team is when a member is assigned a task and when it needs to get done is agreed. Rather than giving the team member the autonomy to complete the task, the manager constantly checks in on how the task is coming along and questions every step taken.

The manager may ask them to do something their preferred way, instead of letting the person complete the task how they want to. The constant interference and critiquing of what they have done is a common example of micromanaging.

Common causes of micromanagement include:

  • Lack of confidence in a person’s level of competence.
  • Feeling insecure.
  • Pressure to meet deadlines or reach targets.
  • Not having clear guidelines or processes to delegate effectively.
  • Unclear roles and responsibilities.
  • A manager’s personality type.
  • Lack of trust that work will be completed as expected.

If you believe you need to micromanage, you either have wrong team members or you need to improve your management or leadership style.

stop micromanaging your team
stop micromanaging your team

There have been occasions where I have been guilty of micromanaging team members. Having used contractors and virtual team members in my business, the quality of work produced is always an important consideration.

A recent example was when I hired a developer to update my website. After giving the developer autonomy to create a website from the outline I provided, I found myself questioning his choices frequently.

I got involved in the design style, fonts that were used, the size of fonts used and I even questioned custom code used. It reached a stage where I made changes myself.

The effect was the project took a lot longer than it should have. That was not the outcome the website developer or I had intended.

A better approach would have been to ask what was stopping or slowing him down from reaching our agreed outcomes and offer any support I could.

Even though there is value in micromanaging in certain situations, most times, it is not beneficial to a team. Here are five reasons to stop micromanaging your team so you can develop a better-performing team.

  1. You will slow the development of team members. If you are not letting team members do things and learn from their efforts, they will not improve their skills or their level of confidence. Allowing team members to make mistakes is uncomfortable, however that will help them develop faster.
  2. You will not develop a high level of trust in your team. If you are constantly checking in and not giving team members freedom to work as they wish, they will become resentful. That means they will not trust your leadership or management style. That can also cause conflict, which may result in team members leaving the team or the business.
  3. You will stifle creativity and innovation. Everyone has their style of doing things. When others are free to show their creativity, that will improve collaboration and innovation. If you are always interfering or giving feedback when it is not asked, that will decrease team member’s ability to be innovative or creative.
  4. You will lose focus of your key objectives. If you are micromanaging, it means you are getting caught in the details of how things should go. That can cause you to get distracted easily, which means you will lose sight of your team objectives.
  5. You will slow progress down, which will increase costs. Rework is a big hidden cost in teams and businesses. If team members are constantly changing what they are doing, that will slow things down, which means rework costs will go up. That will not improve team morale and cause further frustrations.

Actions you can take to stop micromanaging your team include:

  1. Have clear roles and responsibilities, including delegation processes.
  2. Transition from being a manager to being a coach.
  3. Define clear objectives and key results for all team members.
  4. Empower team members to make decisions and coach other members.
  5. Practice effective feedback techniques.

Micromanagement has its place, but it should only be used occasionally. While it is important to know your team members are doing what is expected of them, it is also valuable to allow them to do things and offer feedback as needed.

If you empower team members to function with flexibility and autonomy, you are more likely to improve your team’s performance and achievements.

Action Step: Assess your leadership or management style if you have a team. If you know you are micromanaging, apply the actions suggested to stop, so you can give your team members the freedom to be the best they can be.

Question: What are more reasons to stop micromanaging your team?

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