When you run a business, you want things to operate a certain way. You're a leader, and there's a reason you're in the position you're in. That said, any good business owner knows that their business is only as good as their team, and that's why it's so important to bring on the right people. However, when you do bring on employees, it's also important that you're able to trust them to do their jobs well. Many business owners have trouble with this, and it’s tempting to try to control everything, but at some point, you'll have to delegate tasks and trust your team. Here’s why.
You're taking time away from tasks you should be focused on
As you know, running a business requires you to wear many hats. That's why having a team is so helpful in the first place. Even if you started the company by yourself, if your business is growing, you need help. Having this help allows you to focus on the things that need to be handled by you and no one else.
If you are micromanaging your team, you're spending too much time on things that you hired others for in the first place. Your role as a manager is to be the leader and provide guidance – not to stand over everybody else's shoulder making sure tasks are performed the exact way you would prefer. If goals are met and jobs are done well, the "how" isn't as important. The reality is that by micromanaging, you could be costing your business money by wasting time – especially your own!
Responsibility and authority belong together
If responsibilities are assigned, you should be able to trust employees with the authority to make decisions on how to achieve them. If you can't trust them to make the right decisions, perhaps they shouldn't be given these responsibilities in the first place (maybe you don't have the right person for the job).
"Micromanagers tend to take credit for successes of subordinates while blaming them for failures," says Ira Kalb, a professor of marketing at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.1 "They violate the management rule that authority and responsibility must remain tied together. That is, if micromanagers keep the authority to tell subordinates how to do their jobs, they must also 'own' the responsibility if their directions don’t work. The best managers delegate responsibility along with the authority so that subordinates can decide the best way to do their jobs. If their methods work, the subordinates are praised and rewarded. If they don’t, they deserve blame."
Micromanaging can negatively affect employee retention
People don't like to be micromanaged because it makes them feel like they aren't trusted and/or their thoughts and decisions aren't valued. This does not lead to a fulfilling work environment, and ultimately, it will cause many people to leave their job behind, which means you'll have to start all over again with that position. This becomes an even bigger problem the longer the employee has been with you.
Employers must ask themselves if their micromanaging is worth driving skilled employees away. Nine times out of 10, the answer will be no.
You're stifling creativity and innovation
Micromanaging is also problematic because it assumes the micro-manager has all the answers and best solutions to every problem. While you may have some ideas about how things should be handled, you should accept that the person tasked with the issue at hand might have some as well, and there's no reason to assume that your idea is the best before you know what theirs is. You have chosen them for this task for a reason, so give them a chance to do it their way. If they have problems or need help, they will likely come to you for your input anyway. Tell them that you're there to help if they need it, and instead of breeding resentment like micromanaging does, it will help them feel more secure about their ability to complete the task. If you do want to share your ideas about how to do something, you certainly should do so, but that doesn't mean you have to force a "my way or the highway" policy down the employee's throat.
Micromanaging is something that many business owners (and other managers) struggle with. It can be difficult to know if you're going too far at times. The key is to trust your employees to do their jobs, but to hold them accountable when they don't do them effectively.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.