If there were one word I could give you about micromanagement, it would be this – STOP! Step away from your desk and desist, right this minute. Micromanagement is just about the single worst thing you can do to your company. If you’re a small business owner, line manager, entrepreneur, or CEO who can’t help but get involved in every single task, take notice. You could be slowly suffocating your business without realizing. Here’s at least 5 ways in which micromanagement is killing your business.
1. Removes Motivation from Your Team
If you have a tendency to micromanage, I’m betting that, no matter how large or small your company, you know each employee’s name. That’s admirable, and if that’s part of the company culture you want to keep up, I salute you! But, knowing your employees’ names and job functions is as far as you need to go. You shouldn’t be involved in the hiring process (at least not sifting through resumes). You shouldn’t be present in daily meetings. And you definitely shouldn’t be showing them how to do their jobs.
There is nothing more demotivating than having a task assigned to you and taken away at the last moment. Or a perfectly good plan, presentation or project returned covered in ink marks and corrections. If you hire a Social Media Manager, for example, because you don’t have the time (or skills) to manage your accounts, don’t hang off their every post. Don’t tell them where to put the hashtags.
If your Account Managers are handling a client complaint, don’t step in and step on them where you’re not needed. When your staff get used to you coming in at the last moment and changing their work, questioning their decisions and pulling a 180 on their projects, they stop bothering to contribute ideas. They start to lose confidence in their abilities and have less motivation to come to work.
2. Hinders Progress
Micromanagement hinders progress in more ways than one. It leads to chaos and confusion when a team member is left out of an email, sees an update they didn’t plan, or a task not on their list. When you regularly sweep in and demand things done a different way, you’re actively discouraging other people to make decisions. You’re also undermining your managers’ authority.
If the rest of the team knows that you’re the only person who can approve projects, they won’t listen to their supervisors anymore. This makes the day-to-day functions of your business flow less efficiently, as everyone waits for your approval before they start. It also stops your company from growing. You fail to create leaders who can step in and take your place when you’re not around.
Even worse than that? You’re fostering an environment of inaction. When you start to involve everyone in every project, you ask the wrong employees for updates. You pull people out of their job functions. Instead of getting things done quicker with more hands-on-deck, you stop everyone from advancing. No one knows who’s taking the lead and consequently, your latest initiatives get swept under the rug.
3. Makes you Focus on the Wrong Priorities
Really? Is it necessary that the CEO decide if the new website banner is 200 pixels wide or 220? What about the disgruntled customer who wrote on your wall on Facebook? Or the color scheme for the Christmas party? You may be used to doing things by yourself, but you have to learn to delegate if you want to move forward. When you micromanage and get wrapped up in everyone else’s jobs, it stops you from doing your own.
You start focusing on all the wrong priorities and fail to see the bigger picture. When that happens, that’s when the problems start. That’s just about the time you find yourself heading the same way as Blockbuster or Tower Records. Don’t get so caught up in the details that you fail to keep an eye on the competition, or realize that what you’re selling is becoming irrelevant.
4. Crushes Creativity
When your style of leadership is “my way or the highway,” all those creative people you hired to breathe life into your company aren’t being put to good use. You’re paying top dollar for the best in their field in cutting-edge design, programming, marketing or sales, only to say – “great work, but I want it done this way.” You could hire a much cheaper assistant to take notes for you if you’re not willing to experiment.
There’s only so many times even the most hardcore of employees will argue with you before they back down and stop making suggestions. By only allowing one way of doing things and taking the voice away from your people, you’re crushing creativity and annihilating innovation. You’re failing to let your company move forward and, before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by yes-men and women, accompanying you on a suicide mission aboard a sinking ship.
5. It’s Exhausting
If you’re spending 14 hours a day or more thwacking away at the keyboard locked up in your office, or down in the factory working with the new workers, you’re probably tired. Let’s face it, doing everyone else’s job for them is pretty damn exhausting. For everyone. You’ve earned the right to take a break every now and again. So, go sip on a margarita in the Caribbean. Take a day off in the middle of the week, or just go to a yoga class and recharge your batteries.
If you want to be a better leader in 2017, you have to work on quashing your micromanaging habits. No one is at their most productive if they’re working all the hours there are, or doing the same task three times. Micromanagement could be the single biggest thing that’s killing your business and, while you’re busy doing it, your competitors are rising in Google. They’re winning market share and stealing away your customers. So, make it a resolution this year to put your obsessive/compulsive tendencies to one side and work with your employees instead of with them.