Fight Your Tendency to Micromanage - Anthony S. Glover

Talking Trends
3 min readDec 2, 2022
Image from Unsplash by LinkedIn Sales Solutions

Working with a team is a fun and engaging process where individuals get to share their ideas and learn from a different perspectives. However, the dynamic of teamwork and work progress can be greatly affected by the kind of leader that is in charge. I recently read an article published by Harvard Business Review, titled How to Stop Micromanaging and Start Empowering, by Lia Garvin. This article outlines the three ways a leader can do to keep up with progress and not be overbearing.

“Micromanaging — being overly prescriptive or following up too much — is a surefire way to demotivate your employees and rob them of learning opportunities.”

Caring and following up too much can be misunderstood as micromanaging and would create a hostile work environment where nothing gets done. Especially individuals who feel the need to prove themselves are worthy leaders, micromanaging should be the last thing you do.

The article lists three ways to ensure you’re not being a micromanager.

“Even if you don’t agree with their proposal, you’ve showed them that you trust them, that you’re interested in their ideas, and that you value their contributions.”

  • Focus on outcomes, not process. The next time a task or project is assigned, describe the result that should be produced. Process shouldn’t matter if the outcome is going to be the same. The goal here is to give them the confidence and proof of their ability to step up and get the job done.

“Your feedback should match the consequences, and when the stakes are low and the feedback is overly detailed, it can make someone feel like they’re being picked on.”

  • Set clear expectations around feedback. At the start of each new project, discuss when and how you’ll be expected to follow up with them. This will allow you to step in and redirect the flow of the project wherever it is needed — without being overly involved or catching your team off guard. Doing so will also give the team enough time to explain their decision and why it was made.

“You have to give people the space to grow and make their own unique mark on a team.”

  • Manage up. In conversations with your own boss, talk about your support to the team — how you’re helping employees grow, places they’re stepping up and shining, and what your plan is for the long term. This will help you build trust, demonstrate competence, and remove some of the pressure that leads to micromanaging behaviors in the first place. Because of the confidence that you have in your team, so will your manager.

Managers’ influences are often overlooked and underappreciated, and this is hard on them when they are being micromanaged. But in order to be a leader worth looking up to, you have to lead by example and not guide the negative energy toward the team. By creating opportunities for people to learn and recognize their skills, positive results are later to come.

Click here to read the full article.

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