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"Good managers are brave, and generous with trust in their people." - Scott Berkun, An Open Letter to Micromanagers

Micromanaging is an easy trap for leaders to fall into. Nobody knows the job better than you, and nobody does the job as well as you, right? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is certain: If you are micromanaging you are certainly not leading.

It's Not Them, It's You

The problem of micromanaging isn't the staff you've hired. Frankly, it sits squarely on your own shoulders. One of two things is happening when you find yourself with your hands in every detail of work. You are either doing someone else's job for them, or you have the wrong person in the job.

If you are doing someone else's job and that person is capable of doing the work, the problem is confidence. If you have the wrong person in the job, again, the problem is confidence. Do you notice a pattern forming? Leaders who find themselves caught up in the minutiae of other people's work must reflect on the root cause of their action and the reasons why they lack the confidence to let the team do their jobs.

Your Lack Of Confidence Is Killing Your Team

We've determined that micromanaging boils down to a lack of confidence. Guess who else can pick up on that lack of confidence? Your employees. When team members are not granted the autonomy to do the job you hired them to do, negative feelings can quickly start to fester.

As a leader, you are supposed to build confidence in your employees, but micromanagement does the opposite. Your lack of trust in their ability to drive results will chip away at their confidence and their morale. You ostensibly hire someone for their skills, experience and perspective. You saw something in them that led you to believe they would bring value to your business. Trust your own hiring judgment and get out of the talent's way. If you don't, you risk losing them sooner, rather than later.

Speed Up By Slowing Down

When you stop micromanaging, you remove the proverbial brakes from the organization. Empowering your employees to do their jobs independently allows the company to move faster and farther. That's not to say, however, that leaders need to abandon their high standards and expectations in terms of quality work and output. Letting go and getting great results is a matter of communicating just what those high standards and expectations are from the beginning.

That "letting go" process can be and should be slow and deliberate. You cannot expect to stop micromanaging overnight, and even if you could, the result would be disastrous. The key to letting go of control is to sit down with the employee and clearly communicate the expectations you have for the task, project, job, etc.

If you have micromanaging tendencies, you're probably screaming at your screen right now, "But Larry! I can do it faster! Why on earth would I slow down to train someone else to do it?"

The answer is simple. You might be able to do a task faster, but you cannot lead your company faster and farther if you are doing other people's jobs for them.

Hanging on to control is a natural tendency for many leaders, but micromanaging chokes out productivity and innovation. Slow down, let go, and allow your team to step up to the plate.


Larry Hart

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