In a recent Accountemps survey, a majority of workers polled said they have firsthand experience with an overbearing boss. Fifty-nine percent of employees interviewed reported working for a micromanager at some point in their careers. The survey also found the constant scrutiny has a negative impact on most workers. Of those who felt they’d been micromanaged, 68 percent said it decreased their morale and 55 percent said it hurt their productivity.
Accountemps offers this six-step plan to help micromanagers learn to loosen the reins:
1. Recognize that you may be the problem. Does the word delegate make this person wince? Does the boss feel he/she has to do it all and keep a controlling hand on everything at all times? This is a sign of a micromanager.
2. Let it go. The boss needs to start practicing restraint by dropping the red pen. The boss doesn’t need to put his/her personal stamp on every single item that passes his/her desk. Making changes to an employee’s work simply for the sake of making changes is a habit worth breaking.
3. Keep the check-ins in check. Constantly inquiring about routine assignments rarely helps employees get them done any faster or more efficiently. The micromanager needs to provide clear directions upfront, check in once if need be and then trust team members to do their jobs.
4. Stop sweating the small stuff. When a boss allows himself/herself to get bogged down by the little things, the boss is taking away time and energy from bigger-picture organizational objectives that could have a far greater impact on the bottom line.
5. Get to the point (person). Identify a few tasks you currently handle that can be easily delegated to someone. Think about the time and skills needed for the job and then assign accordingly.
6. Empower employees. When they’re managing projects, give team members the freedom to make decisions — and, yes, mistakes. The micromanager might encounter some initial hiccups, but in the long run, offering autonomy will help employees build their problem-solving and leadership skills.
Whether it’s you, the prospective employer of some of your job-seeking clients, or the corporate client of an EAP, the traits of micromanagers need to be curbed before good help learns of the boss’s methods and says “no” to a prospective employer, or a current staffer leaves!