How to Stop Micromanaging and Start Empowering | 10X Growth

Leadership

Roger is a tech genius who’s created some amazing software applications and solutions for some big-name clients over his career. 

A few years back he decided to start his own software development firm. His firm grew as he was able to attain some high-paying clients. Business was booming. But as his business grew, could his genius stand in the way of that growth?

Roger had a tendency to work long hours. Weeknights, weekends, forget about vacations. He eventually hired a couple of junior developers, a quality assurance (QA) team and some designers to help with the heavy workload. He thought this would make him happy and free up some time for him to live his life.

But even with the additional team members, he couldn’t detach himself from the work. When reviewing their work, Roger found himself finding faults in the coding and design and ended up redoing all of their work. He thought it would be faster, and easier just to do it himself at 2 o’clock in the morning rather than teaching his staff how to do it properly next time. 

 

Sound familiar?

 

It Starts with Awareness

As a business owner it might be tough to admit you’re a micromanager. But if you care about your business, it’s something you have to do. At least you must realize the warning signs along the way.

 

Losing Top Talent

One of the most significant red flags of micromanagement is the loss of top talent. Think about it. Nobody likes a boss who’s hovering over them, watching everything they do and fixing their mistakes. But this is exactly what Roger was doing. 

Many companies lose valuable employees because they feel their talent is being wasted. Talented individuals thrive on trust and the freedom to innovate. When they are micromanaged, it stifles their creativity and job satisfaction, leading them to seek opportunities elsewhere where their contributions are truly valued.

 

Burnout

Another clear indicator of micromanagement is burnout. Sure, Roger has a relentless work ethic, but he often found himself and his team working late nights and weekends. The continuous cycle of redoing work not only drained Roger but also exhausted his team. This constant state of stress and overwork led to burnout, a condition where employees feel physically and emotionally drained, unable to meet continuous demands.

 

Puts on Blinders to Your Long-Term Goals

Micromanagement can also narrow your focus, making it difficult to see the bigger picture. Roger, for instance, was so consumed with perfecting the current software code that he lost sight of his company’s long-term objectives. This tunnel vision limited his vision, his goals, and ultimately, the growth of his business.

Focusing solely on immediate tasks prevents you from strategizing for the future. Instead of building a team capable of tackling larger projects and driving innovation, you end up stunting their growth and potential. It’s essential to step back, trust your team, and focus on mentoring and developing their skills. 

 

Multipliers vs Diminishers

Liz Wiseman’s book “Multipliers” is a handbook for those looking to multiply the genius in their organization.  In short, multipliers are leaders who multiply the genius of other staff, while diminishers reduce their genius.

We’ve recommended this book to countless leaders.  Even if you’re a great leader, it can be bit of a wakeup call for many leaders who might have some accidental (or less than accidental) diminishing tendencies.  

 

How to Stop Micromanaging Your Employees and Start Empowering

Empowering your team starts with a shift in mindset. Instead of focusing on control, shift your attention to trust, development, and delegation. Here’s how you can begin this transformation.

 

Self-Awareness

As a leader, you gotta look in the mirror. Recognize your tendencies and understand how they affect your team. Roger had to come to terms with his habit of micromanaging. He has to realize its impact on his team’s morale and productivity. Self-awareness allows you to identify the root causes of your micromanagement behavior and take steps to address them.

 

Get Rid of Your Ego – Be Humble

Ego often drives micromanagement. It’s the belief that no one can do the job as well as you can. Roger (and other leaders) has to learn humility. Understanding that your team members have their own strengths and capabilities. By letting go of his ego, he opened the door to collaboration and innovation, allowing his team to flourish and contribute more effectively.

 

Create Clarity

Clear communication is essential in empowering your team. Define everyone’s roles, set clear goals, and outline what success looks like. Roger shifted from being a hands-on developer to more of an architect, providing the blueprint and ensuring his team had the tools to build the software within his vision. This clarity helped his team understand their responsibilities and how their work contributed to the overall success of the company.

 

Create Competency

Training is crucial to developing a competent team. Instead of doing the work himself, Roger invested time in training his staff, teaching them the necessary skills to handle tasks independently. This not only improved their competency but also reduced his workload, allowing him to focus on strategic planning and growth.

 

Confidence

Building confidence in your team is a gradual process. As Roger trained his staff, they began to achieve small successes, which boosted their confidence. He transitioned into a coaching role, testing their thinking and encouraging them to solve problems on their own. 

By not editing their code and instead providing constructive feedback, Roger helped his team develop critical thinking skills and become more self-reliant. This shift from a micromanager to a coach not only enhanced their confidence but also fostered a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

 

Let Go

As you go through the cycle with your team, the most important (and hardest) step is to let go.  As the team builds competence and confidence, your confidence in them also grows.  Then you start to let go.  

As you switch modes to coaching and mentoring, you accelerate their growth and can let go even more.  

 

Micromanaging Coaching

For most leaders, becoming a multiplier is possible but it takes help. The hard truth is, if you remain a micromanager, your business will never grow. Incrementa can help you break free from these limitations and empower your team. We can help you develop the leadership skills needed to boost productivity, foster innovation, and achieve sustainable growth. Let us help you learn how to stop micromanaging and start empowering your employees!

Mike Knapp

STRATEGIC PLANNING & EXECUTION

Mike has been helping businesses achieve their goals for more than 20 years. He believes there is a better way for business owners and leaders to build their businesses and achieve their big goals. As a Gravitas Impact Premium coach, he leverages the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth™ to simplify the art of strategy and discipline of execution.

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