Leveraging Time:
Avoiding the Temptation to Micro Manage

Business owners and managers who micro manage usually do so because of a lack of trust. It may feel uncomfortable letting go of control but if you don't it can strangle the business. It causes staff to begin avoiding making decisions or voicing ideas or opinions and, because you don't trust them to do their job without interference it causes low morale. 

Business Coaching Insight:

Learning to let go of things and allowing your staff to do their jobs can be an important lesson for many small business owners.

Most business owners are aware of the concept of leverage in finance – ie. borrowing other peoples money to multiply your gains.

Leveraging is also a concept that you can also apply to your teams time and skills. You can achieve much more by leveraging your team rather than trying to do it all yourself. 

What is micro management?

This term basically describes the type of boss who closely manages their staff to the point of almost breathing down their neck.

It’s when you feel the need to closely supervise and control what they do because you don’t feel you can trust them to do things how you want them done.  

The symptoms include:

  • Not allowing staff to make decisions without your input
  • Doing things yourself because it’s “faster and easier”
  • Picking on the little details of your teams work rather than seeing the big picture
  • Getting too involved in supervising everyone’s work

You might console yourself with the fact that you’re a “hands-on” manager and that you’re keeping high standards of work but you are failing to leverage the time of your employees if you do this. 

It is not a good use of your time.

Why do some people micro manage?

The need to tightly control your team basically comes from fear.

Fear of delegating, fear of letting go and fear of trusting your employees to do things well and the way you want them done.

However, the costs of micro managing include:

  • Your own stress levels because you’re not delegating effectively
  • Disempowered team members because you obviously don’t trust them
  • Strangled business growth because you’re not leveraging your assets

What micro management provokes

Ironically when you tightly control your staff you actually end up provoking them to behave in ways that you don't want. Here's how this dynamic works:

1) You don't trust your staff and you feel the need to control them which leads to...

2) You trying to overcome your feelings by micro-managing them which causes them to...

3) See and feel that you don't trust them. They perceive you as meddling and not letting them get on with their job which causes them to...

4) Avoid communicating and sharing what they're doing. In other words, they start to withdraw from you which, of course, causes you to not trust them and so the circle goes on. 

In this scenario the manager inevitably blames the staff but they don't see that they are actually causing the problem in the first place.

Business Coaching Questions:

•    Do you micro manage or leverage?
•    What stops you from delegating more?
•    If you had to take a 3-month break from the business what would you change in terms of how the business operates?

Return from micro manage to management styles

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