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When You're the Micromanager (Part 2 of 2)

  1. control every part, however small, of (an enterprise or activity). 
It's hard, right? When you're a manager and you want to ensure the work is getting done in the right way and on time.... OR.... you're an employee and you're dealing with a manager who's trying to control and monitor every aspect of your work. 
Our last post was written for employees. 
Now, what do you do if YOU'RE the micromanager? 
First, how do you know if you're micromanaging people? This can be a tough one, but here are some tips to recognize your actions: 
  • You ask for status updates anytime the desire for information pops into your head
  • You don't trust that your employee(s) are working on what you want them to
  • You don't trust that your employees are working, at all, unless you can see them working 
  • With remote work you've implemented, or requested, one of those remote tracking softwares - you know, the things that track keystrokes or eye movements? 
  • Your employee rolls their eyes every time you ask for information
  • Someone TELLS you they'd like a bit more autonomy in their job than you allow 
Now, let's cover why micromanaging is a bad thing. 
It's simple, really: 
Treating your employees like fully autonomous human beings is the best way to support them and get their best.
I get it: You have a need to know what's happening. Your need may even be based on someone else's need to know, your supervisor who is constantly checking up on you. 
So how do you balance a need to know with giving your team members autonomy? 
I have one, best suggestion - and it may not be a surprise if you read the previous post! 
▶️ Figure out an alternative communication tool that is used on a weekly basis.
Yes, you read that right - weekly! 
If you're really concerned about your employees' ability to get things done, encourage them to use their own tool for daily tracking. That should help to ensure that your weekly checks generally provide positive info - that things are generally on track.
There are so many options for tools these days, and virtually any tool you use can help your employees feel like you're giving them more autonomy, flexibility, and breathing room. 
For example: 
  • A project management SAAS like Asana or Trello
  • A shared document that uses checklists, like you can create in MS Word or a Boxnote 
  • Google task lists
  • Online whiteboards like Mural 
  • Audio memos

Get creative! Think about your own preferred way to receive info, and consider your employees' preferred way to provide info. Then talk with them before you implement the new system.

Be honest: Tell them you are struggling with balancing freedom for them in how they do their work with your need to know and understand where things stand. Tell them the method you want to use to track tasks, and ask them what they think of it.

Be careful with the phrasing of that last bit - if you're truly open to changing the method you chose, then go ahead and ask the open-ended "What do you think of x tool?" or "What do you think about what I've been sharing?" 

If you'd prefer to stick with the chosen method, it's still important to ask something like, "How easy or hard do you think it will be for you to communicate with me in this way?" 

Then you have some idea of whether they may need some training, some adjustment time, or maybe to do this as a pilot and see how it goes for a month or three, with them having the ability to come to you with an alternative tasking/communication tool. 

Let me know if you try this and how it goes! 


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