For managers wanting to grow and develop high performing teams, there's one thing they should never do: micromanage.
Often cited as the top turn-off for new hires, it’s important for leaders to know how to coach their people in a way that is motivating, and not stifling.
What is Micromanaging?
The dictionary definition of micromanaging is to control every part, however small. In practice, micromanaging can look like not delegating tasks, requiring insight into every step of a work process, and taking over a project if it’s not being done the “right” way.
Understandably, many employees can find these behaviors demotivating. But even if managers tend to be overly involved in tracking how work on their team is being executed, there are three simple shifts anyone can make that can have a positive impact on their leadership style.
How to Avoid Micromanagement
1. Train and Develop Team Members
There's a notable difference between coaching a new hire on how to do the work versus trying to control how they do the work. The former is the best approach to create engaged employees who produce top quality work.
When training someone on a new process, pay attention to what they are doing well. So often, we default to noticing and vocalizing what someone is not doing well, which overtime can be deflating.
A best practice for recognition is to call out five positive behaviors for every one corrective piece of feedback.
2. Match Talent to Task
The more familiar a manager is with their team member’s individual strengths, the better equipped they will be to assign and delegate work that will utilize those talents well.
For example, one team member might be extremely detailed oriented making them the perfect fit for a project revamping how sales activity is tracked across the department. Another team member might benefit from being included in brainstorming meetings because they have a natural strength in business thinking and seeing the big picture.
Finding work that aligns to an individual’s innate talent sets them up for success and lowers the need to be overly involved – after all, they are doing something that comes naturally to them!
3. Encourage Giving and Getting Feedback
Research shows that having open and honest two-way communication in the workplace is a driving factor in developing a sense of trust on a team.
Consider having time built-in to a weekly 1:1 agenda to ask for feedback, utilizing surveys and online platforms for communication, and modeling transparency with your team when you can.
Cultivating strong communication on your team helps create stronger relationships with direct reports, deepens relationships, and promotes a culture of trust and safety.
There may be times when a particular project or team will require you to be more hands-on. In those instances, be sure to communicate why you are getting involved, and how it is helping achieve the overall goals. And when it makes sense to do so, shift back into coaching strategies that help your team grow and develop.