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4 Signs That You're Micromanaging... and How To Fix It

By Garrett Spence   |    May 3, 2016   |    10:14 AM

How to Stop Micromanaging Your Employees

As a business owner it can be tough to step back and relinquish some control. This mindset may have been helpful at the beginning of your business journey, but now that you’re growing and have employees it’s time to let them take on some of responsibility. That’s why you hired them, after all.

The dictionary defines “micromanage” as [the attempt to] “control or manage all the small parts of (something, such as an activity) in a way that is usually not wanted or that causes problems.”

Does this sound like you? Here are some of the most common signs that you’re micromanaging, including how you can change.

1. You won’t delegate

Do you think that you can do everything better than anyone else, and do you have a hard time delegating tasks because it’s “easier” to do them yourself? If you regularly feel this way there’s a good chance that you’re micromanaging your employees.

Avoid taking on tasks that don’t mesh with your unique, specialized, and very necessary skillsets. If you catch yourself avoiding delegation, remind yourself of why you hired employees in the first place — to do the things that you can’t, or shouldn’t, be doing in your company.

2. You’re rarely satisfied and focus on the smallest details

If you find yourself constantly thinking, “I could have done that better,” you could be micromanaging. Nit-picking at the tiniest of details keeps your employees from doing their best work, and if they’re afraid that their output will never meet expectations morale is likely to plummet.

When you find yourself honing in on tiny details try to take a step back and ask yourself, “Is this really that important when thinking about the bigger picture?” Answer truthfully and accept that different people can complete the same project differently, and that those differences usually boil down to small, insignificant details.

3. You ask to be Cc’d on all emails

Do you ask to be copied on all (or most) emails? If so, then your employees may consider you a micromanager. Asking to be included in every piece of correspondence suggests that you don’t trust in your staff’s abilities to carry out effective, unmonitored communication, and also wastes massive amounts of your precious time.

It’s okay to want to be included on important emails, but demonstrate that you’re trying to reform your micromanaging ways by trusting that your staff can handle their emailing without your supervision.

4. You monitor employees beyond their metrics

Every employee in your company needs to be held accountable for certain goals and those goals should be reviewed regularly. But if you’re forcing employees to track their time down to the minute, timing lunch breaks with laser precision, and are otherwise not giving them the space to do their own jobs in their own way, you’re micromanaging.

Of course, if they aren’t meeting their goals, you can and should speak up… but resist the urge to track and monitor things that aren’t relevant to the job at hand. If you can focus on the metrics that matter you’ll have happier employees and more goals are likely to be achieved.