Attention to detail is one of the personal characteristics that help you get promoted to a management position; managers have to create and review plans and make sure they fully address all the details to achieve a successful completion. That attention to detail can turn negative, though, when it deteriorates into fixating on the details of your staff’s work and micromanaging their activity. Counterintuitive as it seems, people are likely to do better work when you don’t monitor every move they make. Follow these four tips so you can give your staff the freedom to complete their work successfully on their own:
- Hire people you trust to do the job. The root cause of micromanaging is often mistrust that people know how to do their jobs, or that the way they choose to do it won’t work as well as the way you would choose to do it. The best way to eliminate this mistrust is to hire the right people: People with a solid track record of succeeding at similar assignments. If they did it once without your oversight, they can do it again. Be careful, though; this doesn’t mean never giving employees stretch assignments that challenge them to contribute in ways they haven’t had to before.
- Make your expectations known. If you micromanage because you find people don’t live up to your expectations, consider whether they know what your expectations were. Often we assume our expectations are clear without ever explicitly stating them. When an assignment starts, state your expectations and schedule periodic sessions to review whether they’re being met. If you do this, your team will know what they need to do, and you’ll have the opportunity to review progress and take corrective action without constantly checking on them.
- Give people power. Give your team the ability to design their work processes and make other decisions that affect how their work gets done. People who have control over these factors are more likely to feel ownership of the work and more likely to make the commitment to getting the work done with high quality.
- Keep communication lines open. If you micromanage because you feel you don’t get enough information otherwise, develop other ways of communicating with your team about their work. Schedule periodic one-on-one meetings to discuss progress and future priorities. By knowing that you’ll be regularly informed, you can leave your team alone to get the work done in between these meetings.
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