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5 tips to avoid being a micromanager

3 min read


As a leader, letting go of the reins can be difficult. But when you think about it, who really likes being micromanaged? By nitpicking every step of a project, you’ll not only drive your employees a bit crazy, but you’ll cause yourself more stress in the process.

I spoke with several experts about how leaders can avoid micromanagement. Here are some of their tips.

Lose the “my way or the highway” mindset by training them well
Identify critical boundaries that keep you awake at night. Communicate those boundaries. Provide resources necessary such as training to get the job done. Then minimize the hover.

— Tresha Moreland, HR C-Suite

Step back but continue to provide feedback
Managers can avoid micromanagement by training employees thoroughly and then sitting back and let them go through a couple of cycles of performing the tasks they were asked to complete. After this is done, the manager should schedule some time to constructively go through pros and cons of what was done properly and how to improve areas that are deficient.

— Mike Barefoot,  Red Zone Resources

Set and define smart metrics
Most leaders fail to define smart metrics and hold their people accountable. You spend too much time trying to catch the one person screwing up rather than leading the other 20 people on your team that do their job well. Set and define smart metrics and help your people succeed by finding out what they need, encourage them, and acknowledge great work when it is done.

—  Jim Thompson, JMJ Phillip

When all else fails, tap an “aha” moment to break your micromanagement habit
Are you a micromanager who knows better, but regardless of how hard you try, you just can’t stop? You could use an “aha” moment. Research has shown that we can proactively prime ourselves for pivotal realizations: Be alert to seeing yourself clearly and noticing how you see the world. Be curious about what you discover, reflect on what you find, and then relax while you wait for an insight.

— Donna Hartney, author of “The AHA! Handbook: How to spark the insights that will transform your life and career”

ROWE to avoid micromanaging
Leadership looking to cut down on micromanaging and relinquish control for the sake of organizational productivity should consider implementing a ROWE, or a results oriented work environment. ROWE takes the emphasis off of time spent in the office (read: 9-5) and places it on results produced.

— Allison O’Kelly, Mom Corps

What is your favorite tip to avoid micromanaging others?

Heather R. Huhman is the founder and president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. You can connect with Huhman and Come Recommended on Twitter and Facebook.