Avoid micro management

There was a time when a team meeting meant a fountain of ideas. One could throw a problem and get a minimum of six to seven solutions. Everyone felt at ease and it was one big family. However, things seem to have changed. No, managerial skills are at their best but team meetings are no longer as lively as they used to be. It is possible that a manager could be unintentionally micromanaging his team without realizing it. Sometimes a manager needs to let others do their job. Too much interference at the micro level can de-motivate his employees. Micro management can be counter productive, so avoid it.

Very often, one may slip into the trap of micro-management, but it’s a strategy he should avoid. Here are some indicators that will safeguard a team leader or a manager from falling prey to micro-management.

A manager is bursting with ideas and feels that he has handled all his recent projects really well, even down to the smallest detail. This is the biggest sign of things going wrong because the small details aren’t his lookout. The manager’s sudden interest in such matters may be affecting his team’s creativity.

Feeling distanced from the team: A manager may dismiss a drop off in communication with a team member as his/her issue. But the problem could be with the manager. If team members don’t feel free with the manager it could be due to the different image the manager has acquired lately. They could be feeling threatened or resentful. Pay attention to the content of conversations with juniors.

No one is offering ideas: This could be the most important indicator of micro-management practices. A manager’s team doesn’t come up with ideas because the manager does most of the talking. Listen to yourself and analyze the situation.

After some soul searching, if the manager finds him self guilty of micro-management he must face it. In the case, the manager has been guilty of over direction, here are some things he can do to send a firm message to his team that they are allowed their professional freedom and right of equal participation on a project.

Start with a question: The next time issues are discussed with his group, the manager can start with a question. This will give his team members an opportunity to talk and others including the boss to listen.

State the problem and shut up: If a manager needs to state something specific or draw attention to a particular matter, mention it to his team members and let them talk. Don’t offer a solution or put forth a procedure. Let the team work on it from scratch.

Don’t offer solutions: Listen to the team’s inputs, and as a manager don’t offer own solutions. This can prompt them to rethink or revise their ideas, but let the task rest on them. Limit yourself to prompting.

Suggest don’t instruct: make sure that the suggestions offered come across as suggestions only. It is possible a manager can accidentally slip into instructing, so he must be careful. He can offer ideas but tell the team to handle it as they seem best.

Introspect: Ask yourself as to why you are micro-managing? What may be interfering in the work of others for reasons other than exercising authority? Find out the real reasons and take a second opinion ion it.

Assess the matter: Boss needs to think positively about team effort. In case, there is a genuine problem with a project or the performance of a member, he must be upfront about it. Review the scenario and discuss the problem with the team or a fellow manager. This will reduce the urge to micro-mange and shift attention on real progress. After all, the manager is accountable for the task in totality.