New Managers – Beware the Temptation to Micro-Manage

An afraid man is peering over a wall

Is this the way your team members see you? Are you the new manager so afraid that they won’t do the job “right” that you peer over the cubicle walls to check on them? This is definitely not the way to build a loyal and dedicated and high performing team!

Micromanagement has a negative connotation…for good reason. It is a management style whereby the manager all too closely observes and tries to control the way subordinates do their jobs. Here is how micromanaging can hurt you and your team:

  • Loss of trustIf you don’t trust your team to do their job well, they will quickly lose their trust in you as their new supervisor. A team without trust as its foundation suffers from poor performance, low morale and high turnover.
  • Overly dependent employeesIf you control an employee’s output, they will quickly lose confidence in their own ability to handle the job. They begin to rely upon you as their manager to monitor and guide their every move. And they become unwilling to experiment or to try something new. Just think how this stifles innovation, limits growth and blocks continuous improvement.
  • Your own burnoutYour constant need to watch over your employees will wear you out. Remember that delegating effectively is one of the critical management skills that every new leader needs to embrace. If you can’t delegate well, you end up looking over too many shoulders. You will not be able to maintain that exhausting plan for long.

How can new managers overcome the temptation to oversee every move of their team?

  • Understand that you do it because you are afraid your team members can’t. Give them a chance! Back off and let them prove themselves. Likely many on the team have been doing their job successfully for a long time before you were appointed to manage them.
  • Work with your team to determine which jobs really need to be done perfectly to achieve team goals. You may want to take on those few jobs yourself. Let the others go for now.
  • Set up some guidelines. Explain your anxiety over handling your new role well. Work together to  figure out a reasonable reporting schedule, assure your availability when there are questions, and ask what support they need from you in order to be successful.

New managers understandably have some anxiety about tackling their new role. But micromanaging is not the way to handle it. First give your team members a chance to prove themselves.

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