I once had a typing teacher in high school who thought I sucked at typing. She would stand over my shoulder and watch me type.
Naturally, I’d mess up, start to look at my fingers while I typed, and feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. She’d say something about not looking at my fingers and I’d mess up even more.
When she moved to another student, my typing improved. I no longer had to look at my fingers.
This teacher thought she was doing me a favor by watching and making corrections. She probably wouldn’t have called it micromanaging, but that’s exactly what she was doing to her students.
If I had been typing something consequential, I’d have spent entirely too long on my work. This is what happens in too many workplaces. Bosses who need to control every aspect of their company micromanage their staff into a hole.
If that’s you, it’s time to reform your managing style. Here’s how to do that.
1. Are You a Micromanager?
You might be saying, “I don’t micromanage!” And maybe you’re right. Or maybe some manager in your company is micromanaging and you don’t recognize it.
Either way, you want to eliminate micromanagement wherever you see it.
If you see a manager hoarding all the work, they might be a micromanager. They might not be looking over people’s shoulders, but they don’t trust their team.
Maybe they do delegate. Great! But then someone makes a mistake and they take the work back into their hands.
You might be wondering why George is on Facebook all the time. Well, Mike, his manager is taking all his work instead of teaching him how to spot mistakes.
If they can’t see the forest because “tree.” When you paint a forest, you don’t paint the individual trees. Same with management. Their job is to put everything together to present the big picture. Their team should worry about the details.
Their opinion is top and nobody else’s matters. These people might have good ideas, but they’re not using their number one resource, their team.
They have to be involved in every little decision. Otherwise, people are subverting their authority.
They request updates constantly. Even if the project doesn’t involve them, they want to know how it’s going. And they want to know often.
They’re never satisfied. They expect everyone to deliver perfect work even when the work is satisfactory.
2. Train Them to Replace Micromanagement With OKR
OKR or Objectives and Key Results is a management technique. It allows someone who tends to micromanage feel better while actually managing their team rather than pretending to.
You would set your OKRs about every quarter. You invite managers to refocus on the objectives rather than the details.
Objectives should be realistic and achievable. And you need to give people a deadline. If you don’t, the micromanager will feel the need to keep checking up on things.
Now create four sub-objectives or desired results. Again, these should be achievable for your team.
You can use software to keep track of these objectives and revisit them quarterly in meetings.