Chances are good that part of what got you where you are today is your meticulous attention to detail. If you’re anything like many of your fellow SME owners, you’re the type that dots all your I’s, crosses all your T’s…and then triple-checks them for quality assurance purposes.
There’s nothing wrong with paying meticulous attention to detail. To the contrary, it’s exactly that kind of granular focus that can really make the difference when it comes to providing customer service that’s above and beyond what your competitors are willing to offer.
But when attention to detail can begin to be a problem for you is if you’re either unwilling or unable to delegate even lower-level tasks to your subordinates. If you’re compelled to oversee the completion of every little chore you assign, you won’t be able to focus your full attention on the kind of higher-order decisions to which managers should be devoting most of their time. Here are a few tips to help you break free of the micromanaging habit.
Make sure you’ve got the right team in place. Take a long, hard look at the employees you’ve surrounded yourself with. Are you confident that you’ve hired the very best people possible? Sometimes, tendencies toward micromanagement can actually be masking subconscious signals that you still harbor some doubts about your team’s capabilities.
Work to develop trust. If you’re confident in your team, it’s time to begin cultivating trust. Initiate a systematic process of delegating to your team members, starting with very small tasks and working your way up to more important responsibilities, and then force yourself to butt out until the job is done.
Brush up on your task-oriented communication skills. One obstacle that often gets in the way of effective delegation is poor communication. Make sure that you’re assigning tasks to your team members in a clear and unambiguous manner. Provide a clear start and end date and a detailed explanation of the outcome you’re looking for, and then follow up with constructive feedback.
Develop a system for reporting results. As you begin the process of delegating more tasks to your team members, it might help to implement a few formal reporting procedures. Depending on the nature of the tasks being assigned, you can request emailed status updates, set up a group status log for team members to fill out once a day, or gather your crew for a weekly all-hands meeting during which everyone reports on the status of their projects.
Force yourself to give your team some space. If you’re a long-time micromanager, the process of letting go can be surprisingly difficult. However, most experts recommend going “cold turkey” when it comes to backing off and allowing your newly-empowered team members to take the reins on their own terms. During the transition period, you might have to physically remove yourself from the office for part of the day to stop yourself from snooping on work in progress.
When it comes to supervising your employees, do you tend to be laissez-faire or in-your-face? What do you think about the pros and cons of micromanaging? Share your views in the comments.
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It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.