Micromanagment is usually something we’re told as leaders to avoid like the plague, but it’s actually chapter 4 of Contagious Leadership and in two very specific cases, I say go forth and micromanage away! But remember, there’s a how, a when and and a BIG why.
Chapter 4 of Contagious Leadership is:
Leaders Micromanage Only Those Who Need it and Only Until They Proove They Do Not.
Well, so who needs it?
- Problem Employees
- New People or Employees
Why do New Employees NEED it?
When you’re new on the job you don’t know the culture, the boundaries, the right ways, the wrong ways, the “way we really do things around here” or even where the potty is, much less how to interpret your direction on something that is a new assignment. Rightly or wrongly, we, as leaders, tend to share directions without giving all the expectations, written and unwritten rules, or shortcuts. Thus, it is important to micromanage new employees so you can show them the ropes each and every step of the way. You may have to monitor their actions very closely the first couple of times they take on a project, but tell them why you are doing it and it will likely seem less annoying, particularly to someone who wants to succeed and prove themselves to you.
Why do Problem Employees NEED it?
Problem employees, in an environment where you are monitoring their performance, usually have two choices: shape up or ship out. In this case, you are entitled to, and need to, micromanage their actions so that they can improve if they choose. Monitor closely their steps in the process that is leading to their poor performance and look for the one or two that might, if turned around, make a world of difference in their performance. If you find it or them and can teach the employee how to do it differently, then you must stop micromanaging and let them improve their behavior or performance. If they don’t improve, then it’s time to help them grow and develop their skills… elsewhere. “Free them up for new opportunities” if you will.
Micromanagement is a tool that can be used to HELP an employee, new or poorly performing. It is NOT a tool that you use when you don’t feel good about the person to whom you have assigned the task or when you are afraid to let go of the task. If that’s how you are using it, no wonder they are annoyed or agitated at your constant hovering. That is your issue, not theirs. In leadership, you have to learn to trust, to let go, and to believe in those you lead. And of course, that belief is contagious. When you believe in them, they may likely begin to believe in themselves. 🙂