If you find yourself directing every process and procedure to employees, constantly checking in on them, or providing solutions to every problem without asking for their inputs, then you are micromanaging your employees.
But, did you know, it can do more harm than good? It is not considered as an appropriate leadership style.
A survey reveals that,
“79% of the respondents reported experiencing micromanagement, and 69% said they had considered quitting. Moreover, 36% of those individuals quit their jobs.”
Thus, you must follow some tried and tested strategies to eliminate micromanagement to avoid these repercussions. The following pertinent question is, how can you do so?
One proven way is proper delegation or employee empowerment. It is the opposite of micromanagement and highlights the importance of providing autonomy to the employees and the support they require to work independently.
This blog enlists some effective ways to empower employees and prevent micromanagement. But before delving deep, let’s start with the basics.
1. What is micromanagement?
Micromanagement is a term used to define a management style where the supervisor gets excessively involved in the subordinates’ activities. They monitor and control every minor detail of the members’ working process and influence the output. Simply put, a micromanager expects the work to be done exactly their way and gives minimal or no leeway to the members to bring in their opinions or insights.
Micromanagement could be stemming from personal reasons such as the urge for perfectionism, trust issues, etc., or organizational factors including constant pressure from the executives, lack of skilled employees, etc.
Regardless of the factors, micromanagement is a negative practice and should be eliminated. Here are some signs that imply you’re micromanaging the workforce.
Signs of micromanagement
- Avoidance to take opinions or feedbacks from subordinates.
- Lower employee productivity or performance.
- Lack of creativity amongst the workforce.
- Over-involvement of managers in assignments.
- Disengaged workforce and increase in unplanned absences.
Now that the basics are discussed, let’s focus on why managers should opt for employee empowerment over micromanagement in the following section.
2. Why should you choose employee empowerment over micromanagement?
As mentioned in the beginning, employee empowerment is a practice where autonomy is given to the team members. They have the authority over their tasks and the liberty to explore different methods to accomplish the activities.
Here are some reasons why employee empowerment is necessary:
- Improves employee productivity and performance.
- Helps the employees discover their true potential.
- Enhances accountability among the team members.
- Strengthens the decision-making power of the employees.
- Builds a culture of trust and transparency.
- Boosts employee engagement and improves morale.
- Develops a sense of belonging and loyalty in the members.
- Assists in forming a cohesive work environment.
Attributing to these benefits, it is evident that managers should adopt the empowerment approach over micromanagement. When team members have control over their work, it will enhance their productivity, thereby, improving the quality of the deliverables. Furthermore, it will help in boosting business profitability and sustainability.
In the following section, we shall discuss how organizations can empower employees and eliminate micromanagement.
3. Best practices to empower employees while avoiding micromanagement
Managers can avoid practicing micromanagement and empower employees in myriad ways. Below are enlisted the effective practices one can implement and accredit the team members.
Exhibit trust towards the employees
The first and foremost thing that managers need to do is instill trust in their team members. Since employees were hired because they met the company’s skill set and experience criteria, it is crucial to trust every team member to implement their knowledge and skills for the given tasks.
Managers should therefore give autonomy to their employees and have faith that they can do their jobs independently. Moreover, showing trust will improve accountability and foster a sense of responsibility amongst the workforce. They will perform their duties meticulously, thus resulting in enhanced productivity and performance.
Develop clear goals and expectations
This is one of the prime prerequisites for getting the best out of your employees. Knowing the long-term and short-term goals and what they are expected to do from the onset will help them align their efforts in the right direction and perform better. Moreover, when you clarify the boundaries and set the standards from the beginning, it inculcates self-discipline in them.
Lastly, with distinguished goals, employees will always stick to their key responsibility areas and ensure that the KPIs are met. With a clear definition of roles and responsibilities and efforts from the workforce, managers will not be required to get too much involved in the tasks and thus, eliminate micromanagement.
Provide constructive feedback to the team
When it’s advised to avoid micromanagement, it does not imply that the employees should be left on their own. Monitoring your members’ performance regularly is imperative to ensure productivity and quality. However, suppose an employee is not performing up to the company’s standards. In that case, you should avoid being too harsh and not give any demoralizing comments that may dishearten the employee or hamper their motivation. Instead, you should give them valuable and constructive feedback that provides an action-driven approach to do their jobs better.
For instance, if a specific employee commits a mistake, then as the manager, you should explain how they can rectify it or lead them by example instead of demeaning or blaming them. Constructive feedback is imperative for employee growth. Thus, while conducting feedback sessions, you should focus on providing solutions to the problems rather than pointing out mistakes.
Assign work that caters to skill development
One of the many ways to empower employees is to ensure that the assigned tasks help them hone their skills. Thus, while giving work, managers should take an employee-centric approach and ensure the tasks add value.
Moreover, when employees understand that the tasks given to them will help in developing their skills, they will be more engaged and productive. They will give their 100% and complete the job as per the requirements. Thus, managers can stay assured that the members will do a good job, and they won’t need to intervene much. It will, in turn, prevent any micromanagement issues.
Encourage brainstorming and knowledge sharing
If employees aren’t given the leeway to express their ideas or opinions, then it will hamper their morale. Consequently, they may work in a non-creative way and just do the work for the sake of it. Ultimately, it may affect the task’s quality, cause client dissatisfaction, or even result in redoing the tasks all over again.
As managers, you need to involve your employees in task meetings and decision-making processes. Additionally, you should also take their opinions and feedback for process improvement and encourage them to share fresh and innovative ideas. An inclusive culture will not only help in empowering employees but will also make the organization open to an out-of-the-box approach.
Avoid penalizing for small mistakes
Most micromanagers tend to penalize their subordinates for minor mistakes. But that shouldn’t be the case. Managers need to understand that the employees are human beings, too, and they may commit little mistakes now and then. Even if the error hampers the task or project’s progress, managers should avoid penalizing the members and instead give proper directions.
Only when an employee causes a blunder deliberately or gets involved with unethical or compliance-related issues, should the manager take extreme measures. Otherwise, it can be mitigated with a warning. When employees are steered in the right direction, managers can ensure that they learn from their mistakes and do not make such errors in the future. Thus, it will help empower the employees by assisting them in improving their performance.
Recognize their efforts and hard work
Lastly, managers should recognize the efforts put in by the employees and appreciate their hard work. It allows employees to feel valued, acknowledged, and respected. However, it is unnecessary to reward them with monetary benefits every time. Even a simple personalized thank you mail or a shoutout on the company newsletter would be enough for recognition.
Apart from the simple recognitions, managers can also admire their employees’ works through modern recognition methods such as peer-to-peer appreciations, personalized gifts, etc. All these initiatives boost employees’ confidence, and they will be more motivated and engaged.
“Authority—when abused through micromanagement, intimidation, or verbal or nonverbal threats—makes people shut down & productivity ceases.”– John Stoker, renowned author, and speaker.
From the discussion above, it is clear that micromanagement should be avoided at any cost. Even the employers or the upper management should monitor the activities of their subordinates and intervene whenever these signs are visible.
However, it is also necessary for the managers to have a certain degree of control over the tasks. Otherwise, employees may do anything they want, leading to chaos.
There is a thin line between micromanagement and ensuring discipline. And managers must find the sweet spot or balance between the two.
Using the above-mentioned practices, they can empower employees and foster a positive work environment.
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