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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Guest Post: Micromanaging is Destroying Your Team

By Ken Myers

Becoming a leader can be a scary process. In the early stages of a leader's career, they rely on their independence and entrepreneurship to cultivate a strong following and respect in their field. Once a leader is assigned a team, those qualities no longer work to their advantage. A leader that acts like a lone wolf jeopardizes the satisfaction of their team and their job. Learning to let go of all the responsibilities they once held to focus on the bigger picture of a project or business is difficult. Don't fall into the trap of becoming a micromanager, alienating team members and eschewing larger responsibilities. Instead, focus on cultivating a strong team through managed assignments and team unity.

Micromanagers Obliterate Job Satisfaction

A good leader knows that employee satisfaction is key to a thriving business. A job where employees feel disconnected or lack ownership may seem great at first but after reading the final page of the Internet will seem pointless. As a leader, your responsibility is to enhance worker satisfaction to produce higher profits and better customer satisfaction. Understanding that micromanaging completely undermines the primary focus of your job is tantamount to resolving the micromanaging issues.

Explore Why You Micromanage

There are thousands of legitimate reasons a leader becomes a micromanager. No one hopes to spend their career carefully poring over other's work while neglecting their other duties. Getting to the bottom of why you micromanage is needed to resolve the issue. Have you been burned by previous employees? Do you trust your current team? Is micromanaging a way to distract yourself from other duties? Does your micromanaging occur daily, weekly, or before specific events?

Understanding the underlying issues that cause the micromanaging can help you develop a plan to discontinue it. If you notice that you tend to take over a team's responsibilities right before a high-level executive visits the team or prior to budgeting, you can stave off that instinct or develop a reporting system that will allow you to continue focusing on the big picture while being assured team members are following through with their responsibilities.

Hire Right

A great team starts during the hiring process. Everyone has a story about an employee who started day one disengaged. Don't let those employees through the front door. Many employers rush through the hiring process, hoping to get a seat filled rather than filling out a vital part of a cohesive team.

Ensure that your interview process is intensive enough to find out whether the candidate is a good fit for your team. Don't relegate interviews to 30 minutes on the phone or a one-on-one between meetings. Let team members meet candidates. A lunch can be a great interview setting because the candidate can relax and your team members can interact with them unencumbered by formal questioning. Make a concerted effort to find new members that complement your current employees.

Exploit Your Worker's Strengths

The Gallup Survey measuring the state of the workforce found that employees who stated that they did what they did best every day were six times more engaged than other employees. Rather than focusing on developing team member's weaknesses, assessing and assigning responsibility based on strengths leads to higher engagement and more productivity within a team. Assignments based on employee strength help employees feel empowered and vital to the everyday responsibilities of the team.

Create an Accountability System

Do you suffer from managerial anxiety? If you constantly worry about whether specific tasks are being accomplished or whether the day-to-day responsibilities carried out, creating a system that delivers you the information you're concerned about can ease your anxiety without causing undue stress to your team. Ask team members to send weekly or biweekly emails with their accomplishments. Or set up a meeting time to ask questions about upcoming deadlines.

A good leader becomes a great leader by having a solid team. Entrusting your team to deliver the results you need is an essential part of growing your business and finding success in your field. Rather than succumbing to your instincts to micromanage, fill your team with motivated employees, exploit their strengths, and create accountability to ensure you never have a need to micromanage.

Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.