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How can I overcome my tendency to micromanage?

5 min read


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Q. What’s the best way to overcome my tendency to micromanage?

1. Delegate

Start with your best candidate and delegate something that you know they will do well. This will give you the confidence to keep delegating. Moreover, be clear on your expectations. Set a goal, timeline, deadline, expected hours and results. — Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

2. Trust your team

Having employees you trust and who understand your work ethic is crucial to avoid finding yourself micromanaging your team. Make time throughout the week to meet with your team to ensure that you are on the same page. When you feel confident that your team understands the kind of work you expect, you will be able to let them do their work without looking over their shoulder. — Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

3. Set up periodic audits

I’ve found that it’s easier to let go if I know there’s a process in place to alert me if a task isn’t being handled properly. I ask myself, “If this ball were ever dropped, what would be the signs?” Then I schedule a routine time (weekly, monthly) to check for those signs. This allows me to keep my finger on the pulse and make sure things are getting done, without micromanaging. — Jesse Lear, V.I.P. Waste Services LLC

4. Clearly define your expectation

I’ve been frustrated many times when a project wasn’t done correctly, and a good chunk of those times were simply due to a poorly defined objective. A bullet-pointed list with clear criteria to accomplish is essential to ensuring both parties are successful. — Josh Sprague, Orange Mud

5. Provide clear instructions

I deliver the most detailed instructions I can on a project and provide the option of asking questions if there are any issues. But after I have done that, I let it go rather than continuing to check back. At this point, with clear instructions and no upfront questions, I tell myself that they have got it and are running with it so I should be doing the same with what I need to get done. — Angela Ruth, eCash

6. Kick the habit

Stopping yourself from micromanaging is a lot like getting over an addiction. It’s a process that combines awareness, reflection and constant effort. To stop yourself from micromanaging, start by delegating a small project and forcing yourself to stand back until it’s complete. If all goes well, your level of trust in your employees will grow and you can gradually delegate more important tasks.— Brandon Stapper, 858 Graphics

7. Make sure you assign the right person to the task

Micromanaging is natural up to a point, but it’s a tendency you have to resist. I have to ask myself if I trust the people on my team to carry out the tasks that have been assigned to them. If not, that means they are the wrong people or they haven’t been properly trained. In that case, something has to change. If they can be trusted, there’s no need to micromanage, which is the ideal situation. — Shawn Porat, Fortune Cookie Advertising

8. Make everyone a manager

I’ve made everyone a manager through the holocratic system, and haven’t looked back since. Instead of a top-down structure, everyone pitches in, and no one can block a good idea. It creates an atmosphere where people feel engaged with the project at hand. It also makes people stop saying, “that’s not my job,” and gets them to say, “this is my company” instead. — Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

9. Set clear metrics

The worst part of delegating is not knowing for sure whether it’s working — seesawing between loving your team and being ready to let folks go on a regular basis. Solve this by setting clear metrics: quantitative results each member of your team is responsible for. If they hit the target you know you don’t need to be involved every moment.— John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation

10. Remove your hierarchy

A current, and extremely successful company in the entertainment space made the decision to remove their hierarchy from the company, keeping everyone on the same level and giving their team a sense of ownership over the products and services they were producing. Doing this helped streamline their development process, and allowed former managers to extract themselves from constant oversight. — Blair Thomas, EMerchantBroker

11. Ask for feedback

I wouldn’t call myself a micromanager, but I definitely have been micromanaged before. What’s worked for me is communicating with my team to be open and honest if something is bothering them. I would rather them let me know if I’m checking in too often than the alternative. — Jayna Cooke, EVENTup