Why You Need to Stop Micromanaging Your Team and Learn to Let Go While micromanagement works for some people, most of the time, it's just better to avoid it altogether.
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Employees all over the world work in a constantly changing and evolving work environment. While leaders and managers should focus on ways to improve their team's overall work experience, they should also not forget about upgrading their leadership strategies.
Micromanagement has been widely used in terms of company organization and workflow monitoring. However, in most recent years, we all have witnessed a slight change in how leaders and companies observe a company's management, especially in the ever-evolving enterprises.
Related: The 3-Step Cure for Micromanagement
Micromanagement is taking a step back in the business environment
The business atmosphere is ever-changing with its constant upgrades, further development of leadership styles and new work approaches. In such a dynamic work environment, it's only natural for the employees to show tendencies of being more adaptive to change and proactivity.
I witness this exact tendency in my field of expertise — in the IT industry, for example, developers have to constantly be up-to-date with what's new in the programming world by reading, following trends and mastering the next new software. In a nutshell, the professionals in any field are simply used to researching, going with trial-and-error and working at their own pace since there are assignments that are at times way too overwhelming to be executed in a day or two.
If a leader expects a boost in their company's revenue and overall workflow, perhaps they should consider managing their teams in a way that won't interfere with the employees' work approach and proactivity. Because, at the end of the day, it's the employees who lay the foundations in terms of any company's growth and success among the customers.
But let's take a more direct approach to the matter. Sure, many workers out there prefer maintaining their workflow. I observe my team of developers loves feeling the freedom that proactivity brings to them. So the question is: If a leader or a manager chooses to micromanage a progressive company, what obstacles should they expect? What could essentially go wrong? Let's try to figure things out.
My work as the CEO of a web development company has taught me that sometimes letting go of control can be a great asset. Even though my observations are based on the developers' community, I believe the following can be easily attributed to any other business niche.
Here are four reasons why you should stop micromanaging.
1. The leaders are riding off of the transformational leadership approach
The transformational leadership approach grew among people, especially among those working in startups, IT companies and fast-developing modern enterprises. Its core has to do with implementing inspiration, fulfillment and a general belief that the job you're doing is worth it, both to you and the company itself. It's the epitome of counting on proactivity and self-management. Micromanagement, on the other hand, has more common ground with the transactional management style. So, if a leader wants to stimulate their employees to show a willingness to take tasks and matters into their own hands, avoiding micromanagement is a good starting point.
Let's take a quick disclaimer though: Any leader needs to know well their employees so they can choose the best management style for each one of them individually. Sure, employees in the majority would appreciate more freedom in terms of workflow and task distribution, but certain individuals would prefer being micromanaged. In most cases, those are junior workers who still lack confidence and experience. They could easily feel a lack of guidance and support if their leader goes all no micromanagement on them. A mentor needs to keep a great balance between their managing styles among all members of the team. Managers should choose wisely accordingly.
2. Leaders are stopping employees' proactivity to improve
Imagine an employee that needs to be able to have a certain vision and idea to execute a task or a project in the best way possible. I observe this approach constantly at the office among my fellow developers — thinking outside the box and addressing inspiration regularly are key features of a programmer's daily work.
With excessive micromanagement, the leader risks stopping the employees' proactivity from improving. If mentors control every step of the way toward project execution, probably the employee would fail to see the purpose in showing proactivity. They could start viewing tasks simply as these annoying to-dos that would essentially evaluate their entire work approach. No leader would want that — making employees view work as this nine-to-five choir is the easiest and fastest way for you to kill proactivity and fulfillment.
3. Mentors risk turning the workplace into a toxic environment
Excessive micromanagement — especially combined with a bossy attitude — can make the employees dread the next work day. A toxic environment can make anyone leave their job for good. The thing with today's market is that nowadays it's an incredibly competitive field. Any company would be thrilled to hire exceptional professionals. Would a leader want to forsake theirs because of refusing to let go of control?
4. Leaders can make their employees doubt their professional skills
Speaking of professionals, is it a good idea for a leader to micromanage the team to a point where they become uncertain of their skills? Sometimes the best way to show acknowledgment and appreciation is to let someone do things on their terms. Of course, this doesn't mean leaders should abdicate their responsibilities. It just means treating the team with trust.
But leaders should not be mistaken — all the above-mentioned work tips do not prohibit them to monitor the entire workflow. Mentors need to keep in mind the difference between control and sharing support and guidance when needed. The latter will certainly help them evolve as leaders as much as it will help their employees evolve as professionals.