By Kemmy Raji
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”- Sir Richard Branson
The corporate world is mostly filled with micromanagers. Sadly, many organisations prefer these Managers because they seem on top of, and in control of, everythingthat needs to be done.
The belief is that micromanaging employees gets the workdone and also a lot faster. However, micromanaging is the opposite of empowermentand it creates a toxic work environment, breeds resentment and disloyalty.
As an organisation, if you have gone through interviewing and hiring someone, it means you believe they can do the job, then trust them to get the job done. While having a Manager on hand could help when something goes wrong, having them critiquing every action of the work has a detrimental impact on the performance of your employees.
Micromanagement is a concept that has been around for a longtime, however its negatives usually far outweigh any positives that it might have. We are wired that telling someone repeatedly to complete a task makes them do it, and it invariably increases productivity.
However, micromanagement is a complete waste of everybody’s time. It sucks the life out of employees, fosters anxiety and creates a high stress work environment.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”— Steve Jobs
Wondering how you could support your employee to be more proactive without micromanaging them while creating an environment where people pull their weightwithin the organisation?
There are some suggestions:
Work visualisation: Visualising work helps facilitate a transparent and open way of working.
Traditionally, information is held in files on drives which have the challenge of not being accessibleor known about and, if found, not being up-to-date. Where important information isconstantly accessible and visible to people, both speed and accuracy of their workcan improve.
Also, your employee is empowered when they have information needed to complete a task. As a Manager, you are now responsible for managingthe tasks and not the employee.
Thanks to the internet and a growing number of affordable tools, making information accessible to all is now easy (and cheap) for everyone, regardless of data skills or design skills. Such tools as Trello, Asana and Jira provide a great way for your team to self-organise.
Motivate and inspire your team: When you’re running or managing a business, your teams are your most important assets and biggest resources. Without them the business could not function, so it’s essential that your employees feel encouraged and inspired daily. Make sure they are aware of your vision and what your ultimate goals for the business are.
This encourages everyone to work together to achieve better results. You may also want to try coaching and/or mentoring for your team rather than dishing out orders.
Create a thinking environment: “What does it take for people to help each other think well for themselves?” Nancy Kline articulated this observation and came up with 10 components of a thinking environment.
A Thinking Environment is created between two people– a Thinking Partnership, comprising Thinker (coachee) and Partner (coach)–or in a group, at athink tank or any other type of meeting. To achieve a culture of inclusion, managers and leaders need to create an environment where people do their best thinking. Research says Managers who focus on creating a more inclusive work environment know how they can ensure everyone contributes and their contribution is acknowledged.
With the information you have, what is becoming possible for you and your business? Remember, it’s essential to establish clear communication channels andlet your team know you are there when needed. Avoid becoming a bottleneck. Let your employees learn, grow, and experiment. Trust their judgment, skills, and expertise. As a manager, it’s your job to focus on the bigger picture, not stuck inmicromanaging, in the details.
Kemmy Raji is an enterprise agile coach and writes from Canada