How to Manage Without Micromanaging

We all know one. The manager that is great at their job, an organisational-whizz, a detail kind of person… and a tad controlling. Also known as a ‘micromanaging boss’. This form of leadership is often associated with a high-level of control, and low level of trust. As such, it is often viewed as negative, as it may stifle freedom and the ability to flourish.

But at heart, a micromanager is someone who simply needs to learn how to delegate better, and not over-scrutinise work. Easier said than done of course.

Leadership is a skill that can be honed, and thus, it’s entirely possible to learn how to stop micromanaging over time. Knowing the difference between micromanaging vs leading, and how to get the best out of your team members is key to this. In this feature, we will examine some of the best tactics to overcome micromanagement tendencies.

Micromanaging vs Leading

There are many different types of leadership styles, associated with different personalities. If you have experienced a micromanager boss, you will know that these are detail-orientated people. The sort that intensely look over work, question every decision and keep a tight rein on their teams. They may struggle to delegate work, or have high expectations on how work should be undertaken.

Leaders, in contrast, are the complete opposite. A strong leader will communicate their vision and direction, and lead teams the right way to achieve results. Some may be more hands-on than others, but all will strive to create a harmonious balance, having faith in their teams to achieve success.

So then, if leadership is part-mindset, can you learn how to delegate without micromanaging, and if so, what steps can you take be a better leader? According to experts, here’s some things you can do…

Throw yourself into trust

Fundamentally a micromanaging boss may find it hard to trust others to do a job to their standard. This might be because they’re a ‘perfectionist’, or not convinced that others would do it to the same standard. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to confront your personal issues and find workarounds to empower team members.

Consult team members

We all have our own preferred ways of working. Some team members like regular check-in’s, others are less hands-on. The only certainty is that we’re all different. Confident leaders seek input and feedback, so take the opportunity to ask your team members how they like to be managed, it may help all of you in the long-term.

Learn how to manage expectations

It’s important not only to set clear goals, but to support team members in any direction they take to reach them. The difference with a micromanaging boss, is that they tend to set the path to follow. Try to refrain from a prescriptive approach, instead turning to a  supportive one, remembering that it’s about outcomes and not the process.

Learn how to delegate without micromanaging

If you want to know how to help without micromanaging, the first step is to put yourself in the shoes of your team members. We all want the freedom to manage our time, our budgets and our workloads, and benefit from being entrusted to do so.

Learning to delegate means identifying a problem – but not prescribing the steps to solve it. That’s what your team is for.

Instead, you need to understand where you can add value most, sharing tasks with those around you to reach those goals. Breaking problems into bitesize chunks and delegating them out is a great way to achieve this.

Investing in teams

For a manager to be able to delegate with confidence, they must have a capable team in place. If you wonder how to stop micromanaging, perhaps it’s time to review your teams skill set, and invest in training and development.

Team culture

Effective leaders look at the big picture. They understand that team is more important than any one individual. Look at your team holistically and see what changes you can adopt to complete tasks effectively. This might be encouraging more cross-team support for instance.

Understanding the value of autonomy

Finally, if you want to break away from your micromanagement tendencies, there’s an element of letting go of your hang-ups and perfectionist streak. Acknowledging that learning from mistakes is vital for personal growth, it’s time to understand that your role is to be a coach and guide, allowing team members to act autonomously.

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