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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Kayler

Mastering Micromanaging

I just read an article in my professional society’s magazine (Society for Marketing Professional Services), and the following stats from GoodHire caught my attention:

  • 84% of American workers said they could do their manager’s job.

  • 83% of American workers said they could do their own job without their managers.

  • 82% of American workers said they would potentially quit their job because of a bad manager.

While at first blush, it appears as if most employees don’t have much use for their managers, it was noted that these stats don’t necessarily mean managers across the board are deemed incompetent. Rather, it could mean that employees view themselves as highly competent. And, GoodHire noted that the number one blackeye for a manager is if they micromanage.

Micromanagement is a management style that can have detrimental effects on both employees and organizations. While some managers may not even realize they are micromanaging, the impact on team morale, productivity and creativity can be significant.

Although lack of trust is cited as one of the most common signs of micromanagement, I think inability to delegate is actually a bigger challenge. In my experience, learning to delegate is a skillset one must develop, but it is essential for both employee and organizational growth. The reluctance to delegate not only places an overwhelming burden on the manager but also stifles the growth and development of their team members.

Why is delegating so hard? Many will tout that it takes longer to train the other person than just doing it themselves, or fear of it not being done correctly. These are real fears, and in many cases, reality. However, I think another key reason is fear of losing a particular role or edge. Delegating can trigger feelings of insecurity or a fear of being perceived as less essential or replaceable if others can handle your tasks competently. If we couple the survey results stating that most respondents think they can do their manager’s job with a realization of how tough delegation can be, we have a vicious circle!

Another challenge is guilt. A recent Harvard Business Review article highlighted that guilt often prevents managers from delegating. However, this guilt can be misguided and holds everyone back from building their skillset.

The leaders and mentors I look up to have always had the mentality that their people should be as competent and skilled, if not more so, than they are. Growth happens when we let go and let our people build their competencies, even when it means they can do our jobs. Scrap that…especially when it means they can do our jobs.

AOE has expertise in performance review processes, goal setting and employee development. Reach out today to discuss your goals.


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