Micromanaging, while the intention is to ensure the desired outcomes of a project, may in fact not be the best approach. Many say that micromanagement is the destroyer of momentum and that it kills creativity and breeds doubts and uncertainty within your team.
As a startup owner, it is only natural to feel like you must keep everything under control. You might have the fear that without your guidance, what you are building can come crumbling down before it even succeeds. You may also be anxious about delegating tasks, because they may not be actioned in the precise way you want them to be. While these are valid concerns, how do you know if you are already micromanaging your teams?
Here are some traits to tell if you’re a micromanager:
● Has trouble delegating tasks: this stems from the fear of things not being done the way you envision them to be and is related to a lack of trust in your employees to complete the tasks successfully.
● You don’t give feedback, instead redo everything yourself: this right here is enough to prove that you don’t trust your team. Rather than give them feedback, for them to improve, you would rather redo it yourself.
● Text or email employees after hours: you have little to no concept of boundaries. You will email your team whenever you are dissatisfied with something, and you want it done right away.
● Constantly check the progress of every task: it’s only natural to check the progress of your team; however, requiring them to submit hourly or daily reports on what they are working on takes up precious time and overwhelms your employees.
There is a fine line between being highly engaged and involved vs being a micromanager. Crossing that line can lead to unwanted consequences and upset team dynamics and productivity. So, taking extra caution is the way to go.
Here are some ways it could backfire on you:
● Waste of your time: micromanaging will make you obsessed over every tiny detail. You will lose your time overseeing projects that are running fine instead of focusing more on the core of your startup.
● Hindered creativity: the lack of creative freedom can be the stumbling block of your team. And when your team feels like they are not being given the chance to exercise their creativity to accomplish tasks, this will lead to demoralisation.
● Demoralisation: the passion and love for what attracted them to work for your startup diminishes. They will feel insecure about how they are doing things and what they can accomplish. They will always second guess everything they do and this will make them dependent on you for every decision. While that may sound good to you, it will only add to your list of things you shouldn’t have to worry about.
Understanding the effects of such a mindset is a good first step toward change. If you’re a micromanager, you need to understand how others feel, to start making changes.
Here are some ways to be a successful startup without micromanaging your team:
● Hire the right people: hiring the right people for your team can provide you with that sense of security. Security in the sense that they will deliver and be accountable even if you leave them alone to focus on their tasks.
● Set realistic expectations: setting reasonable expectations for your team will benefit you more. You must remember that it is more essential that your staff completes their job in whichever method works best for them. As a result, their creativity will not be stifled, and they will improve quicker. Hold people accountable for outcomes rather than how they do it, so they don’t feel like they’re being controlled.
● Promote a culture of open and honest communication: honest and open communication is always the key to any successful relationship. And giving feedback is a better way to accomplish tasks rather than redoing it yourself. Giving honest feedback to your staff will show them that you appreciate their efforts and that there is always space for growth. They will have the motivation to do better and may even exceed your expectations.
● Set significant milestones and benchmarks and check on your team’s progress: there is nothing wrong with checking in with your team on a frequent basis, but you must be mindful of the narrow line between micromanaging and regular check-ins. Set milestones and benchmarks for your team and check in with them as they approach them. In the long run it is better to count milestones and benchmarks accomplished than reports that mean nothing.
Give your team the opportunity to showcase their skills and do more for your startup. You chose them to be a part of your team, and with that you should trust that they will do their job without being codependent on your involvement in every step.
Recognise the importance of adjusting your mindset and creating a work culture in which you and your team can collaborate. Accomplishing milestones as a team is better than micromanaging your team and losing valuable time and resources due to people refusing to work with you.