Leadership Vs. Micromanagement

Some of the leaders believe that “Micromanagement” will help them to keep a good hold on their team. By doing this they feel that they are involved in the different activities and projects. Some of the leaders live in impression that their team will appreciateĀ  if they Micromanage things. But this is no where near to reality. Micromanages will never be able to create a long time trust or relationship with their teams.

Great leaders use this type of behavior very sparingly and only when absolutely needed. Less than successful leaders overindulge on a regular basis.

The prime reasons why they micromanage include:

  • The belief they are smarter than the other person/group
  • The belief team or “they” are not skilled enough to be successful
  • A general need for control over work which reflects on you
  • A desire for a specific outcome when multiple are possible
  • A lack of understanding or appreciation of the need to develop others
  • A lack of trust on team
  • They got a feeling that their team is not honest and hiding thing from them.
  • To demonstrate their involvement

The problems micromanaging creates:

  • Lower productivity for a leader since they spend less time working on their own tasks.
  • Lower productivity for the person or group being micromanaged – since they are dealing with them.
  • A long-term resentment that develops since almost no employee likes to be micromanaged.
  • Not able to establish long time trust with team.
  • The person or group will never get sense of accomplishment for any of their great work

How to avoid micromanaging:

  • Manage outcomes not process. This is one of the golden rules of leadership. Anytime you lead others you must define expectations – including meaningful goals, milestones and metrics. You only begin micromanaging a little when the outcomes you receive are not acceptable. Stated differently, don’t much around in the process unless the process is clearly not creating the outcomes you need. You can stop in, offer support, try to help or provide resources – but don’t micromanage.
  • Get good feedback. This applies to the tendency to micromanage and in general to one’s leadership ability. Find one or two unbiased and honest resources and ask them to give you honest and candid feedback. Ask about how others perceive you on a spectrum ranging from “granting lots of autonomy” to “crazy micromanager” and actually listen to what they say.
  • Stay away from their cube! Many people took the MBWA (“management by walking around”) mantra too seriously. When in doubt – don’t go bother them, wait and evaluate the outcomes first! If you can’t stand it, break the work up into meaningful milestones up front when planning and assigning work. This way you will receive updates or mini outcomes along the way without having to hover and harass. If the mini outcomes look problematic (not simply “different than how you would have done it,” but actually problematic) then step into the process in an attempt to help – but don’t micromanage!

Inspired by one of the articles of Leadership Guru Dr. Dewette.