I often blog about the perils of micro-managing, most recently Perfectionists are micro-managers (and lousy leaders) and Here’s what micro-managers shouldn’t do. Today, I thought I’d offer up another proven idea to avoid the trap of micro-managing – participate, at least to some degree, in the training of your employees. Think about it, the necessity to micro-manage is rooted in the need for control. And control, not necessarily in a negative way, is because you want to make sure that things are done right and to the standards that you and others expect. So if you involve yourself, at least partially, in training your employees, then you can be confident, first-hand, that they know what needs to be done. This knowledge will allow you to trust that your staff are ready to take charge of things on their own.
Now let’s be clear here, the outcome of “training” is not that your employee will do things EXACTLY the way you do it! Yes, I am well aware that you like to format your spreadsheet using font size 12 and prefer your totals to show currency signs. But these details do not affect the outcome of the deliverable you are expecting from your employee. When I say training, I mean that it is most certainly about “the what”, but is not necessarily about the minutiae of “the why”. Your objective here is to gain confidence that your employee will deliver a final product or service that is acceptable to your customers or internal stakeholders; because once you have made progress towards this goal, it’s easier to stop micro-managing.
I am also aware that this is a little bit of a circular argument – a “what came first – the chicken or the egg?” scenario. In order to stop micro-managing, you have to build trust, and in order to build trust, you have to force yourself to stop micro-managing. So I know it can be difficult. But do it anyway! The risk of continuing to micro-manage far outweighs the risk of stopping. If you don’t stop micro-managing, your staff will be disengaged and de-motivated.
Comments? A different perspective? Please share your thoughts below.