‘If you want something doing right, do it yourself’ – right?
Wrong! The best way to grow your business is to stop working in it and start working on it. That means you’re going to have to learn a very important skill: delegation.
If your business is your baby, it’s natural for you to feel protective over the processes you’ve put in place and best practices. However, this can lead to micromanaging, a toxic trait we see all too often in business leaders.
Read on to discover what micromanaging is, how it can be damaging for your business and, most importantly, the steps you can take to avoid it whilst still getting great results for your team.
What is Micromanagement?
Have you ever heard those stories about helicopter parents, hovering over their kids every move and dictating every second of their day? That’s micromanagement.
In a business context, it’s a leader or manager being overly-controlling over a team, situation or project. Let’s take a look at a quick scenario:
A team member has been assigned a specific task. Instead of being left to complete it their own way, their manager is always watching over their shoulder. They might be demanding updates on progress more often than necessary, and even chastise the individual if they’re going about the task in a way they don’t agree with. We’re in the presence of a micromanager.
Don’t get us wrong, the task will get done and it will probably be of high quality – so why is this micromanaging so bad for business?
Problems with Micromanagement
A micromanager’s heart is likely often in the right place – they’re behaving the way they are because they want things to be done right. However, this managerial style brings with it a number of issues in the long run that can be pretty detrimental.
First of all, and to put it bluntly, it’s annoying. You’ve no doubt put a great deal of thought into your recruitment and onboarding process which means your team members are more than capable of doing the tasks you give them. If their manager is constantly being overbearing it’s going to lead to a negative atmosphere and it will feel as though there is an issue with trust. This is going to lead to an increase in employee turnover rate and might mean you lose some really valuable people.
Secondly, it’s just not scalable. Your managers have a team around them to provide them with more resources to get stuff done. If they’re micromanaging they may as well be doing it themselves. That’s going to lead to your business suffering, as you’re not getting the most from your team. Plus, eventually, they’re just going to burn themselves out by trying to do everyone else’s job as well as their own.
Lastly, it’s going to narrow down your business’s perspective. You or your management team might have a set way that you always do things, but that might not be the right way. Setting an employee a task and giving them the freedom to tackle it their own way might open up a whole world of new opportunities! A team stuck under a micromanager might lose sight of the bigger picture, when there’s always room to grow and improve. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying to leave your team to their own devices and never check-in. However, striking the balance between a healthy and a toxic management style is going to help your business in a multitude of ways.
How to Get Results Without Micromanagement
Right, we’ve told you how not to manage so it only seems fair that we give you some tips to ensure a good management structure moving forwards:
Change How You Delegate
We’ve already covered why delegation is important, now let’s look at the best practices that surround it.
When you’re passing a task across to another team member, don’t just give them the ‘What’. You should also give them the ‘Why’. This means instead of just passing on what you want to be done, take the time to explain why you’re doing it and the results you’re expecting it to bring.
Knowing why a task is being completed will ensure complete understanding between you and your delegate – if they can understand your desired outcome they’ll be able to get their head around the best way to pull it together and present it to you. This means there should be nothing lost in translation. If they still aren’t able to complete the task to meet what you’re looking for, you may have discovered a training need.
Have a Succinct Plan
If an employee has unfortunately developed a track record of not meeting your expectations, you might feel like your only option is to start micromanaging their output.
Let us show you another way. We believe the key to success is in the planning. The next time you’re setting that team member a task, before you send them on their way ask them to present you with a plan detailing how they’re going to go about it.
This gives your team member a chance to sit down and really think about what they’re going to do and how to present it to you. It also gives you the opportunity to check their approach and probe for more detail if they’re going about it in a way you hadn’t expected. If you spot any holes or potential issues, you’ve got the time to question what they’re planning and check their critical thinking.
Overall, having a plan in place will help you to feel as though you’re thoroughly in the picture, whilst also giving your team member the space they need to work things through and feel trusted. The best part of this method: you’ve just elevated yourself from being a micromanager to being a coach – which is a much more fruitful and positive role to be in.
Monitor & Keep Coaching
Coaching your team can drive amazing results for your business. As above, you still have full visibility and the opportunity to step in and correct any errors, but you’ll also have the time to work on other business priorities while your team crack on.
Being a coach isn’t a one-time thing, you can’t set up a great planning system once and expect everything to be tip-top from then on out. Make it a consistent process, checking in at agreed points and offering your help and guidance where appropriate.
If you keep at this you’re going to see your team start to thrive and it’s going to keep opening doors for you and your business as you grow.
There you have it, follow our guidance and you’ll soon find you and your leadership team moving away from micromanagement and towards a healthy, prospering team environment where stuff gets done.
This isn’t a change that will come overnight, and it won’t necessarily come easily. Things like this take work and consistency, so you might find yourself needing an extra helping hand to change your company culture and get these practices in place.
If that’s the case then great news, you’re in the right place. At Zest, we offer a range of development and training solutions to elevate you, your team and your business.
What are you waiting for? Start your journey by dropping us an email today to firstname.lastname@example.org.