HR & Management

Bosses: 4 ways to manage your micromanaging skills

5 min read

24 October 2018

As Halloween draws near, business owners must check their intimidating and counter-productive micromanaging habits.

Halloween is coming up, and as the days shorten, and head towards this annually creepy holiday, we should be thinking about what might be scaring our staff.

For SME owners, the scariest thing possible is probably running into the red or being unfairly sued by a surly member of staff.

But considerate employers must always think about what their employees might be feeling, whether it’s feelings of frustration, – or even fear.

Listening to the concerns of your workforce is a better way to solve problems and encourage productivity than ignoring or even intimating staff to do the work you want them to.

So in the spirit of Halloween, and combating evil spirits, why not go ahead and check your own, – here are five ways to manage your ‘evil boss’ micromanaging skills.

1. Look into yourself

This is when you should sit down on your proverbial therapist’s chair, clutching a handkerchief and proclaim ” yes, yes I am a micromanager, and I need help!”

“Once you admit and recognise that you are a micromanager, you can go about solving the issue.”

Start by thinking of a high priority project that needs undertaking.

This is make or break for your company…

– But there’s one issue, you’re ill and unable to help out.

Who are you going to designate each aspect of the project to, and why?

– Are your palms sweating? Do you feel the adrenaline pumping around your body? Do you feel nervous?

That’s because you’re a micromanager, namely, you’re paranoid that your staff won’t be able to do it without you.

“Now, if you’ve clocked that you’re a micromanager, and want to do something about it, don’t start by approaching staff directly about it.”

Providing you have a strong stomach against criticism and a level-headed ego, ask your members of senior staff to ask the rest of the team to complete anonymous questionnaires about the state of the company’s culture, including questions around lines of communication and the nature of management.

If this is all a bit dramatic for you, get your senior staff to hold a meeting or series of meetings with the workforce, and allow staff to address any related issues they might have (without you there of course.)

2. Remind yourself of the pitfalls

Remember you are a leader, not a line manager.

It’s crucial that you constantly remind yourself of the disadvantages of micromanaging staff.

– Acting this way actually lowers staff motivation due to a loss of feelings of independence and purpose.

Behaving this way will only encourage the most promising staff (who value feeling trusted by bosses to do their job) to leave your company.

“Micromanaging staff also means you have less time to get on with your own job, namely running the company and planning for the bigger picture.”

Without your crucial long-term input as the company leader, wider visions, missions and important accomplishments will not be met.

3. People are your friends not your foes

Your business is nothing without its staff. So don’t treat your workforce with suspicion.

You’ve hired them to do a job, so give them space, and the relative creative freedom to be able to do it.

4. Hire the right people, and you’ll be fine

If you put time, and money into the recruitment process initially, you’ll have a high talent workforce who understand what they need to do, and how to do it.

Don’t be tempted to get staff  ‘on the cheap’.

“Hard-working and experienced staff are worth their weight in gold, and quite frankly candidates who are discerning about what job they choose to accept and at what price are the ones you should want to be attracting.”

Don’t be tempted to accept candidates who are overly grateful for the position, as this means they will tolerate being micromanaged.

– And for you spooky micromanagers, the only way you’re going to be snapped out of this habit is if you hire confident, motivated and principled staff who won’t accept it.