Micromanaging, by definition, means involving yourself too directly in what your team members should be doing by themselves.

As a manager, sure it’s your responsibility to:

  • coordinate projects
  • solve problems
  • deal with other managers
  • develop and maintain relationships with some higher-level customers or clients
  • ensure a certain amount of work gets done

At one time or another, you may choose to delegate some of these responsibilities, or some parts of them, to team members whom you discover are ready to take them on. But it doesn’t work the other way around.

An article in allbusiness.com provides some tips to keep in mind when you find yourself tempted to “meddle”.

There’s more than one right way. Once you’ve prepared your team members to complete a project successfully, step back and let them come up with their own way to get the task done and find their own solutions when they hit a snag. The way they approach a given task may not be the way you would do it, but that doesn’t mean its wrong. By all means, touch base occasionally to see how things are going and if they need help. But each of them needs the freedom to work within an open framework if they are going to learn and grow.

It gets back to trust again. Your team members have to believe you trust them to do a good job. If they don’t, they will feel frustrated and powerless. Worse yet, they’ll begin to feel they won’t be held accountable and will stop trying to make decisions at all.

If something is wrong, fix it. If one of your team members is constantly doing things incorrectly resulting in bad outcomes, it may come down to a tough decision – replacing him or her with someone who can do the job. But before you even consider that, be absolutely sure you’ve communicated the job’s responsibilities clearly and that they’ve had the training they need to do the job. It’s entirely possible that this person wants to be micromanaged, but just as you need to stay out of their way, they need to realize the importance of making some of their own decisions and might be better suited to a different type of job.

Sidebar: On all performance-related issues, be sure you’ve strictly adhered to company policies on counseling, issuing verbal and written warnings, etc. Keep your Human Resources department and your boss in the loop throughout any such process.

Burnout. Even after reading the above, if you still find yourself getting too involved in the minutia of your team members’ jobs, you are going to get really, really tired! The good news is that you’ll be too tired to care about micromanaging any more. The bad news is that you may be too burned out to manage at all. I know that sounds harsh, but the damage of micromanaging is severe enough to warrant a scare tactic or two.

Well, wasn’t that a joy ride? Nobody ever said that being a woman in management would be all fun and games!

If you assume part of the work for which your team members are responsible, you won’t have time to successfully manage your own responsibilities – and that’s not good for you, for them, or for your business.