For new and experienced leaders alike, one of their biggest management challenges is learning how to properly delegate. Those who struggle with delegation often come off as micromanagers, leading their teams to feel over-scrutinized and distrusted.
Most employees don’t appreciate being micromanaged, so it’s in your best interest as a leader to curb this behavior before it leads to negative effects, like poor morale, lack of motivation and staff turnover. We asked members of Forbes Coaches Council to share some strategies for leaders who want to avoid micromanaging their teams. Their best answers are below.
1. Physically Remove Yourself From The Group
Leaders often delegate actions and plans to their teams but they never physically leave. One client planned her travel monthly, coinciding with a delegated assignment. This created the discipline of delegation, traveling to another team and assignment. It put the team in a positive situation, without the leader looming in the next room. This created more productivity and more independence. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
2. Manage Expectations, Not Tasks
Managers usually spend a decent amount of time telling their teams what needs to be done. Sometimes what needs to be done and what is expected are different. Effective leaders will do their best to ensure each individual member of a team knows what is expected. Once everyone is in sync with expectations, there is no need to micromanage. It is about outcomes, not activity. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
3. Only Do What Only You Can Do
As a leader, it is critical to focus your time on the activities that only you can do. Your role is to set right and left limits on how jobs get done and to manage outcomes. If you find yourself micromanaging others, you have failed to delegate correctly. Training is different than micromanaging. Ensure your team has the skills (train them), set limits and manage outcomes. – Jim Vaselopulos, Rafti Advisors, Inc.
4. Ask Employees How They Want To Be Managed
Confident leaders combat micromanaging their employees by seeking their input. Simply asking, “How often would you like me to check in?” or “How would you like me to hold you accountable?” reveals how different employees like to be managed. Not only does this provide the leader with vital information, but it also establishes trust and autonomy in the employee — it’s a win-win situation. – Ali Merchant, Ali Merchant
5. Focus On Managing Your Culture
Smart leaders are more concerned about managing their culture than they are about managing their people. Leaders can communicate with clarity about values, beliefs and behaviors that should be embodied in the culture of a company. When employees understand how and why a leader thinks like they do, then they aspire to complete tasks and projects according to the values of the culture. – Ken Gosnell, CEO Experience
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