How to Avoid Micromanaging

How to Avoid Micromanaging
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This story appears in the April 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

How do I run a tight ship without micromanaging my staff?

“If you’re a business owner doing a lot of hovering,” says Cynthia Kay, who founded her Grand Rapids-based media production and consulting firm 29 years ago, “either you’ve got the wrong people or you need an attitude adjustment.” But before heads roll, follow her guide to becoming a sage mentor rather than an unholy nag.

1. Establish procedures -- for hiring, production, distribution, customer service, all of it. Then write them down and share them with employees. Kay conducts “scenario training” to teach her staff how to respond to every conceivable occurrence. “I’m consistently saying, ‘What do we do here? What’s the policy here?’”
she says.

2. Try new technology. What “appropriate technology” can help you stay abreast of your employees and your company? Kay suggests giving lots of new tools a whirl, be they for communication, organization or more. Spend a month with a trial version, and see whether it suits your needs.

3. Turn employees into partners. In mindset, that is. Consult them on operational decisions. Kay consults all seven of her full-time staffers on purchasing decisions, for example. “When they get invested and act like owners,” she says, “I don’t have to worry about them making bad decisions.”

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