Here’s a scenario: You received that well-deserved promotion to manager of the department in which you worked for two years. Two of your peers now work for you and you’ve hired two more. All the right employees are in place. At least you thought they were; but something went awry because that critical deadline was missed. That’s never going to happen again on your watch.
Oftentimes there’s a tipping point at which your leadership style could wane, then shift from macro- to micromanagement. You’re a newly promoted manager who is charged to lead his peers; you hired additional team members; your team missed a critical deadline. You feel out of control. At that point in time, after the critical deadline was missed, you decided to take charge.
Do you feel like you’ve gone from leader to micromanager? Here are some common characteristics of micromanagers to help you decide.
You may be a micromanager if you:
- • Avoid delegating.
- • Fill your time with details, missing the big-picture, long-term plan.
- • Monitor and assess every step of a business process.
- • Dictate projects are done a certain way regardless of effectiveness or efficiency.
- • Override other’s decisions.
- • Require unnecessary and frequent reports.
- • Restrict the flow of information among employees.
Even a few of these tendencies might suggest that you are one of those types of managers—at least for now. Micromanagers often start out as strong leaders, which is why you were promoted (or hired) in the first place. You’re still that leader who can first weigh the potential outcomes of controlling all the details all the time, and then alter his or her behavior to empower the team members to have some comanagement responsibilities. It is time to rethink your decision to micromanage the group.
What are the potential outcomes of micromanaging?
The outcomes of micromanaging a team could possibly include overseeing a group of workers that is hesitant—even paralyzed—to do their job. Their lack of information or inability to make decisions on their own could restrict those on the team from completing a project correctly and on time because you aren’t there every minute managing the details. In the meantime, who’s doing your job to provide the company’s big picture to all persons who report to you, and who is driving the strategy to achieve the big-picture goals?
How to revert back to your role as a leader
Refocus on the overall corporate plan and the integral part your department plays in that plan. Be the leader you were hired to be, which probably excludes doing day-to-day, project-oriented tasks that could be done by your team members—the qualified people who once were your peers before you got promoted or those you were hired to lead.
Lead your team by being a proactive communicator with your group and coworkers. Manage up-front directives and share information. Listen to your team members. Those who feel unheard will often become disengaged from the group, leave your department, or even quit their job. And that not-listened-to team member just might have been your best contributor to the overall directives.
We don’t start out our careers choosing to be a micromanager. We often learn how to be one through personal experiences we’ve had with previous managers—even mentors, family, and friends.
If you’re looking to hone your leadership, there are a number of free online resources available. One idea is to use your favorite search engine and search “free leadership training.” Additionally, seeking higher education is a great place to start if you're trying to implement newer, better ideas and methods of leadership. Organizational behavior, strategic management, accounting for your decision making, and managing changes in turbulent, dynamic environments are just a few of the areas of study offered when earning a degree in business management. With the knowledge gained from an advanced degree, a rewarding career in team leadership is within reach.
Additional Sources on Micromanagers: