Managing Employees

Learn When to Delegate and When to Micromanage

Learn When to Delegate and When to Micromanage
Image credit: Shutterstock
Guest Writer
CEO of Blank Label
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Micromanaging has become a dirty word in the corporate world. It’s used by employees to describe overzealous managers, who don’t trust them to perform the simplest of tasks without constant intervention.

Certainly, no one wants to work for a boss, who allows them no freedom, and who doesn’t want them to grow and gain experience by facing new challenges every once in a while. Additionally, a boss who spends all of their time obsessed with tracking their team members’ actions is probably not making the best use of their resources.

However, some tasks are so vitally important that you, as a small business owner, need to ensure they are done correctly. In such circumstances, it’s better to think of micromanaging as opposed to delegation.

Delegating and micromanaging both have their places. Several years ago, when my company only had one location, I could afford to oversee numerous aspects of the management without spreading myself too thin. Today, I have three retail locations, so I’ve had to learn to strike an effective balance between delegating and micromanaging.

Related: Delegating is Good. That's Why I Delegated This Headline.

When delegating, set your employees up for success.

As your business grows, you’ll inevitably have to hand over tasks that once fit comfortably into your schedule to other members of your organization. It arouses conflicting feelings in many entrepreneurs. While you obviously trust the people you've hired, you also want to make sure your baby is in capable hands.

When deciding whether or not to delegate, one of the worst things you could do is assign a task to someone who is unequipped to handle it. If they fail, it will be damaging to their confidence, your faith and the company. One of the best strategies for avoiding such a scenario is to follow the 70 percent rule.

Essentially, if you believe that your employee is capable of doing the work at least 70 percent as well as you then it’s beneficial to delegate it to them. Experts say that once you do decide to delegate, it’s important not to undermine the trust you’ve placed in them by letting your instinct to micromanage creep in.

Related: 4 Ways for Control Freaks to Get Comfortable Delegating Tasks

Delegating allows your employees to embrace new challenges.

Delegating tasks to your employees becomes a necessity as the demands on your time rise, but even if you have the time to work on everything yourself, you probably shouldn’t.

Most employees are more satisfied when they are given new challenges that allow them to expand their skill set in new and interesting ways. Of course, you’re far more likely to retain an employee if they are satisified with their job, and employee retention has important consequences on both your bottom line, and business culture.

Furthermore, asking your employees to take on new responsibilities is a cost-effective way of assisting them with professional development. They’ll have the opportunity to learn things that will make them more versatile contributors, and you and your company will reap the benefits of said versatility.

Related: Why Business Owners Have a Hard Time Delegating

Don’t lose sight of what you’re there to do.

Eventually, I realized that there were very few things that needed to be done absolutely right in order for the business to be successful. When there are tasks that are critical to the survival of the company, such as hiring, raising capital and pursuing an acquisition, I make sure that I take control of the project myself.

Ultimately, your job as CEO is to focus on the one thing that you can do better than everyone else, which will facilitate the performance of your team and allow you to take your company to new heights. Avoid distractions from this one thing by delegating tasks that could easily be performed by others, and understand that delegating and micromanaging are both important skills for any leader to master.

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